The 38-time England international, who also criticized Van Dijk earlier in the season, admits the Dutchman is having a difficult season. ,,But Rio Ferdinand and John Terry also had bad seasons in their careers. Now the same thing happens to Van Dijk. But let’s not forget that no centre-back in Premier League history has had as much impact on a team as Virgil.”

Carragher sent out several tweets on Monday to make his point. He also draws a comparison to Nemanja Vidic, who won five domestic titles and the Champions League with Manchester United. ,,Van Dijk is much better. Of course Vidic was a great defender, but don’t forget how difficult he had it with Fernando Torres. If someone really thinks that Vidic was better then you are not watching the same sport. Van Dijk is much better.”

According to Carragher, who played over 500 games for Liverpool, it is now all too easy to forget what Van Dijk has already achieved. ,, In the last four years he was not only the best defender in the league, but along with Kevin De Bruyne he was even the best player. That shows what level he was at.”

“Defend like a schoolboy”

Carragher’s words of encouragement will be a welcome boost, because after the match against Arsenal (2-2), Van Dijk had to put up with a lot. With an unintentional assist to Gabriel Martinelli, he had a negative role in the visitors’ first goal and was not free either in the 0-2 draw. He also received a yellow card after a foul on Gabriel Jesus.

“That foul was not out of frustration, but out of sheer desperation,” Neville told Sky Sports. “Because he was already defeated. He defends like a schoolboy, like everyone at Liverpool.” “Really bad defence,” Keane added. Van Dijk looks at the ball but doesn’t put any pressure on it. He makes it too easy for Arsenal.” Previously Marco van Basten and Ruud Gullit were also critical, though mainly for the Orange’s lack of leadership.

Liverpool saved a point through Mohamed Salah (who later missed a penalty) and Roberto Firmino, but continue to struggle in the Premier League. The team is only eighth and a long way from a Champions League ticket for next season. That requires a place in the top four.

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