Virgil van Dijk has come in for heavy criticism from former Netherlands star Wim Kieft, who has described the Liverpool centre-back as ‘lazy and nonchalant’ and slammed him for making too many mistakes.
Liverpool have kicked off the defence of their Premier League title with two wins, but they looked a bit shaky on the opening day as they scraped past newly-promoted Leeds 4-3.
It was an uncharacteristically bad performance from Van Dijk, who scored in the game, but was at fault at the back as his side conceded three.
Kieft, who won the 1988 European Championship with Netherlands and enjoyed a superb career with the likes of Ajax, PSV and Pisa, has not been impressed and feels his compatriot has got complacent in his play.
‘He is not sharp, he behaves with the Oranje and Liverpool like the finished star, the great coaching leader, who shows a little too much that he does not like his fellow players’, he told De Telegraaf.
‘At the same time, he plays lazy and nonchalant himself. He makes mistakes and often runs away from defensive handiwork in matches. With his status, he should be at the forefront of the battle.
‘It’s okay if his trainers shake him up a lot.’
Liverpool were much improved against Chelsea in their second outing of the season, beating the Blues 2-0 with Fabinho filling in at centre-back alongside Van Dijk.
The Brazilian played at the back as Joe Gomez and Joel Matip were out and the Dutchman felt Fabinho was the best player on the pitch.
‘Outstanding,’ Van Dijk said of Fabinho’s performance. ‘I just told him as well I think he was Man of the Match. To keep out a striker like [Timo] Werner and don’t let him score, overall he was outstanding.
‘Everyone knows how good he is but it shows also that we need everyone. We are a bit unlucky with the injuries now but we’ll need everyone back because it’s such a long season.’