Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk wasn't happy at criticism from 'ex footballers' following Liverpool's loss to Napoli last week, but Rio Ferdinand defended his stance.
Jurgen Klopp's side have had a more difficult start to the season than many would have expected, and their loss to Napoli on the opening Champions League group matchday saw them continue their stumble.
The team's defensive performance was given the once over by Jamie Carragher, with the club legend ripping into the team, and the odds on Klopp losing his job were even slashed.
Van Dijk's performance in particular was criticised and the Dutchman finally got the chance to answer his critics, after the Premier League runners up won their second group game against Ajax on Tuesday night.
Following the match the defender was interviewed, alongside match winner Joel Matip, and claimed on BT Sport that pundits were trying to bring down the team's morale.
"Coming back from the horror show in Naples it was very important to show a positive reaction. It's not easy to turn it around, but it is a step in the right direction... It was very important to win going into the international break," Van Dijk said.
"We are not listening to the outside world. A lot of ex-football players, who know exactly what we go through, they say a lot to get us down, but we know the last game was very bad and this was a step in the right direction."
Rio Ferdinand was in the studio for BT and the former Manchester United defender, who recently revealed he thinks Van Dijk is a better defender than he was, via a lie detector test, defended himself and fellow pundits.
'If I thought [criticism] was wrong, or I thought it was personal, then I'd get the hump. But if it was deserved, then do you know what, I'd hold my hands up and say it," the former England star said.
"Listen, the performance in Naples, if they're honest every single one of the players would [admit that] it was a bad day at the office and we deserved the criticism we got.
"But again, we re-iterated on the night, we weren't saying they're a bad team overnight, no one was saying they're bad players overnight. It was a bad performance."
It wasn't just the loss against Napoli that has led to criticism for the former Southampton and Celtic centre back, who has previously seemed almost unbeatable at times.
He had a poor start to the campaign against Fulham, giving away a penalty in a 2-2 draw, and was under further scrutiny after his part in Jadon Sancho's goal, as Klopp's side lost to rivals Manchester United.
Some fans then thought the 31-year-old was lucky to stay on the pitch in the Merseyside derby, believing his tackle on Amadou Onana was worth more than the yellow card he picked up.
Van Dijk and his teammates now have a break from their club form, with their game against Liverpool on Sunday postponed due to policing issues with the Queen's funeral on Monday.
The final international break before the World Cup kicks off on Monday, meaning the Reds next game is against Brighton on October 1st.
Featured Image Credit: BT/Alamy
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