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Sadio Mané and Marcus Rashford prove Virgil van Dijk right as Jürgen Klopp knows Liverpool truth



Sadio Mane and Marcus Rashford agree with Virgil van Dijk while Jürgen Klopp knows the truth from Liverpool

Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk has recently come under fire from two Dutch legends, but Sadio Mane and Marcus Rashford have already proved him right.

“He makes noise, but he doesn’t say anything,” said Dutch legend Marco van Basten of Liverpool centre-back and Orange captain Virgil van Dijk.

“It’s not clear. A good captain thinks aloud, he makes it clear what’s going on. He’s in the middle.” It creates chaos. This leads to misunderstandings. As captain, you must prevent this.

“He’s good in the dressing room, but technically and tactically he’s not. You need another gentleman on the pitch. It has nothing to do with that injury, it has to do with leadership.”

Van Basten, who led his country to their only major title at Euro 88, was speaking after a 4-0 away win against France.

And Ruud Gullit, who was in the top 11 of this tournament alongside Van Basten, also attacked Van Dijk, accusing him of arrogance.

“It’s going backwards,” he said via The Daily Mail. “In England they have already criticized him. He was voted World Team of the Year. He thinks he is better than the others.

“We see things and then I’m like, ‘You’re captain, you have to fix this. “But he just kind of comments on what’s happening in front of him.

“I don’t know if he does, but it looks like he doesn’t talk. He plays so sure. Come on, you are so big and good. It is a positive criticism that we give. Isn’t that the best? Then show him.”

There is no escaping the reality that Van Dijk is having a bad season, certainly by his rather worldly standards. Once bulletproof, the 31-year-old is starting to look more and more fallible. The aura of calm surrounding the defender has been replaced by an atmosphere of lethargy, and his once impeccable vision of the game has occasionally faded.

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Different explanations have been put forward.

Fans have suggested that Van Dijk is exposed in front of him by the dysfunctional midfielder.

However, others have explained that the former Southampton man is on the decline as his peak was cut short by the anterior cruciate ligament injury he suffered in 2020/21.

And then there are those, like Gullit, who think it’s Van Dijk’s fault that he has developed harmful self-esteem. What if the answer was much simpler?

“It’s normal that you can’t always play consistently,” Van Dijk told Ziggo Sport after the Netherlands bounced back with a 3-0 win over Gibraltar (via Sport Witness). “As a club or a player, you have a phase in which you are looking for your level.

“People shouldn’t forget that. It’s normal for people to make mistakes, it’s part of football and it’s very human. He later added: “It’s been a tough time at the club [Liverpool], with ups and downs too. I’m very optimistic about the future and trying to play my best game every game.

” We are not Robots. Let’s not forget that. Maybe sometimes people forget that.

Van Dijk’s comments raise an interesting question. Perhaps the vagaries inherent in the form have prevailed, and we justify our own explanations by neglecting a much more fundamental reality.

How many times have we seen players take a year off – and this is certainly the first in Van Dijk’s formidable career at Anfield – before coming back strong?

Just look at Reds legend Sadio Mané, who struggled domestically in the 2017/18 season, scoring just 10 goals in 29 Premier League games. He was much overshadowed by summer record newcomer Mohamed Salah.

Over the next two seasons, he scored 65 direct goals in 97 games and secured back-to-back appearances in the PFA Team of the Year and the Fans’ Player of the Year award for 2019/20. But “one of the best examples”, as Jürgen Klopp himself put it earlier this month, is Marcus Rashford.

“The season he had last year and the season he has this year, I’m not sure he can explain that,” Klopp said. “I’m not sure he can explain it. You have to fight it and overcome it.

Rashford scored just five goals in 32 appearances last season, but this season under Erik ten Hag he has exploded with 27 goals in 44 games. Of all the players in the top five leagues, only Erling Haaland (42) and Kylian Mbappé (31) can beat that number. It was a spectacular turnaround, with many wondering last year whether Rashford would ever realize the potential he showed in his early days at Manchester United.

Perhaps we are guilty of over-analysis in modern football and expect players to be ‘robots’, as Van Dijk suggests.

Of course, the factors mentioned above may contribute to its lower levels, but perhaps the bigger picture is not so worrisome. Even the best players have down periods.

For Van Dijk, this is new territory after years of adoration. Just as it will be painful to hear the scathing remarks of some of the country’s most respected footballers, it would be immensely satisfying to silence them.

Ultimately, the verdict will fall next season, but perhaps we shouldn’t be too surprised if Van Dijk returns to something close after all the noise of recent months in the United States.