Joe Molloy and Dan McDonnell discussed Liverpool and Virgil Van Dijk on The Football Show.
Virgil Van Dijk is not having a good season.
Liverpool's best player for so long proved his health when he returned from a knee injury last season. But after being a permanent fixture in the team last season, he's become a mistake-prone, passive defender this season. He too often sits deep, off strikers who are taking their chances on goal.
There isn't just one or two incidents to point to from this season so far. Van Dijk is struggling so regularly that you could make a lowlight reel already.
His performances fit with those of the players around him. Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez have made plenty of mistakes. Andrew Robertson is not as tenacious as in past seasons. Fabinho and Jordan Henderson are being overrun regularly.
But Van Dijk was the consensus best defender in the world. He is supposed to transcend everything around him and still be the best defender in the world each week. Against Manchester City, the Dutch defender showed that he can still physically be that player.
He contained Erling Haaland. Something nobody else can do. But then the next week he went straight back to struggling against Leeds.
Joe Molloy questioned Van Dijk's attitude on The Football Show.
"Maybe with different players there's different things going on," Molloy wondered.
"With Van Dijk, it's hard to figure out the malaize. But certainly, if you think about the Van Dijk that we saw against Manchester City, sliding full length to stop crosses coming in. So sharp. And on top of everything. Then you think of the Van Dijk for the Gomez mistake.
"Now ultimately it's Gomez's mistake and it's unfortunate Alisson slips, but you just feel like the Van Dijk we saw against Manchester City was more on his toes. He was more alive to danger.
"He was just so flat-footed to that moment even happening.
"I do think that it's that his head is not right."
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