The champions were humiliated at Villa Park, conceding seven goals in a match in all competitions for the first time since 1963.
Liverpool’s back four couldn’t cope with the pressing and clever movement of Ollie Watkins, Jack Grealish and Ross Barkley, while back-up goalkeeper Adrian struggled in goal.
Former Reds striker Collymore is in no doubt of centre-back Van Dijk’s ability, but admitted he lacked the leadership skills of some of the great defenders to have graced the English game, like Alan Hansen and Mark Lawrenson.
‘Liverpool, in particular, given their status as the reigning Premier League, European and world champions.
‘And what worried me most about their performance was the fact Aston Villa didn’t even have to break their will to put seven goals past them — they simply rolled over and waved Ollie Watkins and Co through.
‘Watching Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez against Villa, and United’s Harry Maguire and Eric Bailly before them against Tottenham, made me pine for the good old days.
‘Now, I’m not saying Van Dijk is anything other than a grade A, world-class footballer, because we all know he is.
‘But what bothered me was how little responsibility he nor any of the other individuals in Liverpool and United shirts wanted to take.
‘Hansen and Lawrenson or Pallister and Bruce would have soon worked out a team was getting the run on them and would have taken responsibility, dropping off for five or six minutes to force opponents to try to find a different way through.’