"Out of this world" - Jamie Carragher says brilliant Liverpool man is now back to his best after Ajax game
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Jamie Carragher believes Liverpool defender Virgil Van Dijk is back to his best after a commanding performance against Ajax in the Champions League on Tuesday.
The Dutchman was lamented for stepping off the likes of Jadon Sancho and Wilfried Zaha earlier in the campaign, resulting in the concession of goals.
This sort of tepid defending was atypical of a man who has been dubbed the world’s best centre-back in recent years.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, Carragher said: “They have had injuries and three of four players- who have been outstanding- have not been playing at their best.
“Maybe Virgil Van Dijk, Trent Alexander-Arnold, maybe Fabinho in midfield, Mo Salah, these players have been out of this world for four or five years and they haven’t been at their best at the start of this season, but that is allowed, it is normal."
"They are only human. We have all been there as players."
“Criticism does spike you. You saw a huge turnaround in Liverpool’s performance (against Ajax). Individually, Van Dijk was back to his best.
“If he wants to bite back at whoever that might be- I might be one of them or it might be someone else- but I think Virgil Van Dijk has had more pats on the back in the last five years in the Premier League.
“Maybe only Kevin De Bruyne in terms of classing them as the two best players in the league and in the world in their positions. So, he has done well out of not getting too much criticism in his career. There are people a lot worse off than him.”
Liverpool battled hard against the Dutch team in a dominant display in which they needed an 89th minute header from Joel Matip to earn their first three points in Group A of Europe’s elite competition.
The result was imperative for the Merseyside club after their 4-1 defeat to Napoli last week in Southern Italy.
Van Dijk did indeed produce an excellent performance and Klopp will be desperate for his best defender to retain this authoritative presence at the heart of the Liverpool backline after the international break.