By Noel Whelan

17th Sep, 2022 | 2:00pm

Whelan digs at Virgil van Dijk after new Liverpool reveal

Noel Whelan has insisted Liverpool star Virgil van Dijk is “not having the best time right now” and must take criticism from pundits “on the chin”.

The former Leeds striker was speaking exclusively to Football Insider after the 31-year-old clapped back at ex-players who have voiced their opinion on the defender’s displays.

Van Dijk has been slammed by some pundits for his perceived role in Liverpool’s bad form so far this term.

Speaking after the 2-1 Champions League victory over Ajax on Tuesday (13 September) and quoted by the Daily Mail, the defender slammed the “ex-football players” who are “saying a lot to get us down”.

The Dutchman insisted the Reds stars are “not listening to the outside world” – but conceded he has to improve his individual performances.

Whelan defended his fellow pundits and insisted Van Dijk’s biggest critic will be himself.

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He told Football Insider’s Ewan Kingsbury: “This is our job, to criticise or praise players.

“We’ve been there, done it. Now we’re sat in the armchair watching it.

“We all know what a great player he is, and the person who will be criticising him the most is himself.

“Players know when they’re not hitting the heights or if they’re having a rough patch.

“Unfortunately, this is what comes with football. If he’s having a great time, he’ll be praised – it’s a 50/50 thing.

“When you’re not playing well, the critics are going to come your way – and he needs to take it on the chin.

“He’s not having the best time right now, and he’d probably be the first to admit that.”

In other news, expert shares “amazing” Jude Bellingham claim after Liverpool update today.