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Virgil van Dijk responds to Ruud Gullit after being mocked amid Liverpool crisis



Virgil van Dijk was scathingly compared to an ice skater by fellow countryman Ruud Gullit after Liverpool were torn apart by Real Madrid in the Champions League last Tuesday

Virgil van Dijk has reaffirmed the “high standards” he holds to as the Liverpool defender refused to be fired at a recent verbal barrage from fellow Dutchman Ruud Gullit.

Ruud Gullit

The Reds were beaten 5-2 by Real Madrid in the first leg of the Champions League round of 16 last Tuesday – a humiliating result that laid bare their glaring defensive frailties. Van Dijk, 31, came under intense criticism from Dutch legend Gullit for his approach throughout the game, which the hosts trailed 2-0 at Anfield before conceding five times unanswered.

The AC Milan and Chelsea hero compared the Liverpool No.4 to an ice skater for the way he positioned his body while defending against the likes of Vinicius Junior and Karim Benzema. The two superstar strikers each netted twice as Los Blancos put their foot in the quarter-finals.

“Van Dijk puts his hands behind his back like a skater and bends his knees like skaters do,” Gullit said. “His body leans forward. He kneels a bit in his movements and only has his hands behind his back, so he dodges a handball when the attacker shoots. It’s too easy for me – and he looks awkward. “

Van Dijk wasn’t his usual imperious self in Jurgen Klopp’s central defense this season, but he was nonetheless one of Liverpool’s best players. Lui suffered a hamstring injury against Brentford in early January and has only recently returned to the starting lineup after recovering.

In the Premier League, the Reds have had three consecutive clean sheets, most recently in Saturday night’s 0-0 draw at Crystal Palace. Van Dijk was partnered with Joel Matip at centre-back at Selhurst Park and was asked about his reaction to Gullit’s comments following the standoff in south London.

“I have nothing to say about it. I have high standards. People try to hold me down, so that’s what I try to do,” Van Dijk said of Gullit’s devastating attack. “Coming back from a big injury and being out for six weeks is tough, so I’m very proud to play three games for 90 minutes and I’ve worked hard for that.”

Van Dijk has made 27 appearances in all competitions this season, scoring twice and not missing a minute of Liverpool’s Champions League campaign. With Jordan Henderson and James Milner in and out of the squad, the former Southampton centre-back has worn the captain’s armband on numerous occasions.

Like each of his team-mates, Van Dijk will need to produce the game of his life if Liverpool are to recover from a three-goal deficit and Real Madrid miraculously collapse at the Santiago Bernabeu on March 15. Meanwhile, the Reds host Wolves and Manchester United before heading to Bournemouth in the league.

1 Comment

1 Comment


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