Darren Bent has torn into the recent performances of Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk and says his unconvincing displays are making his teammates look bad.
The former Aston Villa and England striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, says that the Dutch giant has not looked like his usual composed self at the heart of the defence and that it is causing the Reds big problems at the back.
Van Dijk saw Joe Gomez replace Joel Matip as his defensive partner in the 4-3 win over Red Bull Salzburg, while Dejan Lovren came in for Saturday’s home clash against Leicester City.
Bent says that with the Liverpool defence failing to look convincing in recent weeks, a lot of the blame has to fall at van Dijk’s door after falling some way below his usual high standards.
Bent told Football Insider: “Let’s not pull the wool over anyone’s eyes. Van Dijk was all over the place in the week. People who play alongside van Dijk usually have a easy game because he’s a general back there.
“He wasn’t calm, he was all over the place. For the first goal (v Salzburg) he’s got sent down the shops, the guy’s chopped inside him and van Dijk’s dived in, which he doesn’t usually do. I don’t think this season van Dijk looks (like himself).
“I wouldn’t say he’s the calm and collected figure we’re used to seeing. I don’t think that helped Joe Gomez coming in at all. Because van Dijk’s not calm, the whole four looks disjointed other than the full-backs.”
Van Dijk has played in all but one of Liverpool’s 12 games across all competitions so far this season, sitting out their League Cup win over MK Dons at the end of September.
James Milner netted the winning goal in Saturday’s clash against Leicester with an injury-time penalty, leaving the Reds sitting eight-points at the top of the Premier League table.
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