“I’d take van Dijk’s place at the moment” – Carragher
Liverpool legend, Jamie Carragher has called out another club great, Virgil van Dijk after a horror show from him and his teammates at Anfield against Real Madrid in a Champions League game on Tuesday.
Virgil van Dijk and Liverpool were condemned to a 5-2 defeat in the round of 16 first-leg game at Anfield after racing into a 2-0 lead.
Braces from Vinicius Junior, Karim Benzema, and Eder Militao’s goal meant Real Madrid scored five goals after conceding two. They scored three goals in the second half.
And Carragher who saw his boyhood club conceded five goals for the first time at home in a Champions League game came heavy on the players.
‘They played against an Everton team, one of the worst performances I’ve seen in a derby game from an Everton team who did nothing. I was at the Newcastle game as well – Newcastle with 10 men created chances. If they’d had 11 men they’d have got back to 2-2, I’m convinced about.
‘Because Liverpool all season have been an absolute shambles defensively. Now this team had a great defensive record last season, but we know the midfield doesn’t have the energy anymore, the attacking players in the front three don’t press, or don’t have the cohesion, of [Roberto] Firmino or [Sadio] Mane, they’re new to it [Darwin] Nunez and [Cody] Gakpo.
‘So this Liverpool defence now, who we’ve been told for years have some of the best players in the world, can’t cope.
‘For years they’ve had a front six in front of them who probably worked harder and smarter than any other team in world football. And now that’s gone, it’s completely fallen apart.
‘I keep… making excuses is probably the wrong word but, as a Liverpool fan, we absolutely adore this manager and team and they’ve done so much for the club in the last four or five years, it hurts you to say anything negative because they’ve given you so much.
‘But Liverpool are eighth in the Premier League. They’ve just been battered 5-2 in the Champions League. I know it’s Real Madrid, but these are the two teams who were in the final last year. It’s not acceptable what we’re watching this season.
‘And we keep looking for reasons and excuses, but, no, it’s nowhere near good enough.”
Carragher then kick back at Virgil van Dijk who once told Gary Neville in an interview that there will be no space for Jamie in his 20-man Liverpool squad.
“Not even in the full squad, the first 20. He will be in the stands!,” said van Dijk in November 2022
“You have to think about it. You have two centre-backs playing, hopefully I’m playing and it’s Joe Gomez now [alongside].
“You have Joel Matip and Ibrahima Konate, you’re not going to put another centre-back in.”
The former Three Lions defender said he would take van Dijk’s place at the moment.
‘What makes me laugh – I’m not that bothered by it – but Virgil van Dijk said I wouldn’t get in that back four about two months ago. I think I’d take his place at the moment!
‘Some of the players there, Joe Gomez… I mean, look, we’ve all had bad nights as players – and maybe I shouldn’t kick someone when they’re down because I’m sure he feels terrible right now – but I think Liverpool, we keep talking about midfield players they need and that’s right, but I think Liverpool need defenders as well because when they get exposed they can’t defend.’