Michael Owen points the finger at Virgil van Dijk after Liverpool FC loss
The Liverpool FC legend believes Virgil van Dijk produced his worst performance for the Reds so far on Tuesday night in Serbia
Michael Owen was critical of Virgil van Dijk for producing his “worst performance” in a Liverpool FC shirt in Tuesday night’s 2-0 loss at Red Star Belgrade.
The Netherlands international started alongside Joel Matip in the centre of Liverpool FC’s defence for their fourth Champions League fixture of the season.
Van Dijk has already had three different centre-half partners this season after Jurgen Klopp has used Joe Gomez, Dejan Lovren and Matip as his second central defender.
Gomez has appeared to be the most natural defensive colleague for Van Dijk given that Lovren and Matip have looked unsure in the heart of Klopp’s back four.
Red Star lost 4-0 to Liverpool FC at Anfield but the Serbian side were good value for their 2-0 win in the return fixture on Tuesday night.
Van Dijk missed three clear-cut chances in Liverpool FC’s 1-1 draw with Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium last weekend before glancing a header wide in Belgrade in mid-week.
The club record signing appears to be going through his first dip in form since his £75m move to Liverpool FC from Southampton in the January transfer window.
Former Liverpool FC striker Owen believes Van Dijk was guilty of producing a poor performance, like the rest of his team-mates, in the Champions League this week.
“I said Van Dijk was the best defender in the world at the moment [before the game],” Owen told BT Sport on Tuesday night. “That [his first-half display against Red Star Belgrade] was probably the worst I’ve ever seen him play.
“So it was bad from back to front, right the way through the team for Liverpool. Van Dijk’s made a couple of mistakes.
“It’s frustrating because for a large part, the first part, really Liverpool were in control. And then there was a few mistakes here for the goal.
“It’s a zonal system in many ways but then you’ve got a couple of blockers around the penalty spot. And then Pavkov gets in-between (Daniel) Sturridge and Van Dijk really.
“I think if anyone is to blame it’s Van Dijk. It goes over Sturridge’s head and he’s got to be able to see that and challenge for it.”
Van Dijk and his Liverpool FC colleagues will welcome promoted side Fulham to Anfield in their next Premier League game on Sunday.
The Reds will be hoping to make a statement with a strong performance against the Premier League’s basement club in their 12th top-flight fixture of the 2018-19 campaign.
Liverpool FC still have the second best defensive record in the Premier League this term after conceding four times in 11 games.