Gael Clichy has taken aim at Virgil van Dijk following the Liverpool captain’s performance in his side’s 3-1 loss to Arsenal today (February 4).
The Merseysiders were deservedly beaten at the Emirates as the title race was blown wide open. Jurgen Klopp’s men were second best throughout and were their own worst enemy on several occasions.
That included Arsenal‘s second goal which came through Gabriel Martinelli in the 67th minute. A rare moment of miscommunication between Van Dijk and Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson Becker allowed the Brazilian to pounce.
Van Dijk allowed the ball to bounce after Gabriel Maghales had hoofed upfield. Alisson completely misjudged his clearance and Martinelli was gifted with an open goal.
Mikel Arteta’s side had taken the lead in the 14th minute through Bukayo Saka. Gabriel then scored a bizarre own goal in the 45 3rd minute.
The hosts retook the lead through Van Dijk and Alisson’s gift to Martinelli. Klopp’s men’s mission to equalize again was given a massive dent after Ibrahima Konate was sent off in the 88th minute.
Leandro Trossard finished the job off for Arsenal in the 90 2nd minute. It was a vital win for the north Londoners that kept their title hopes alive.
Clichy questioned whether the Gunners’ victory was a result of them playing well or Klopp’s side performing poorly. He told Sky Sports:
“When a team dominates a game like this you are always going to question whether they were that good if Liverpool were that poor. I can’t remember Liverpool playing that poorly.”
Clichy used Van Dijk as an example of one of Klopp’s crop who were out of sorts at the Emirates:
“The example is Van Dijk we are not used to seeing him like this. Very sloppy, confident, arrogant at times. That challenge for the second goal you don’t expect from someone of his status.”
Van Dijk has, for many, been one of the Premier League‘s most assured defenders this season. The Dutchman has bounced back from a difficult past year with fine displays, helping his side keep seven clean sheets in 20 league games.
However, the 32-year-old wasn’t at his best today with his role in Martinelli’s goal a glaring error. He did make four clearances and won all six of his aerial duels.
Virgil van Dijk gives a humble assessment of his display in Liverpool’s loss to Arsenal
Van Dijk was adamant that he would recover from his disappointing outing in the defeat to Arsenal at the Emirates. He said (via transfer expert Fabrizio Romano):
“I will work hard. I will be back. There is no doubt about that. I will make sure these things don’t happen anymore.”
Liverpool will hope the Netherlands international quickly gets back to his best as they have some vital games on the horizon. They face Burnley on Saturday (February 10) and Brentford (February 17).
Van Dijk will then captain the Merseysiders for the first time in a final on February 25. His side face Chelsea in the Carabao Cup final at Wembley.
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