Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Michael Owen believes Van Dijk absence altered Real Madrid approach

Liverpool have a mountain to climb in the Champions League. The Reds were thoroughly bested in the Spanish capital on Tuesday night with a shoddy first half to blame. Michael Owen has said Real Madrid wouldn’t have even tried a long ball if Virgil van Dijk was playing.

Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Disappointing defeat

The first half we saw from the Reds in Madrid was one of the worst 45 minutes of football we’ve seen from them in some time.

The lads were all over the shop, poor in every single department.

They gave the ball away carelessly and didn’t apply enough pressure to win it back.

There were defensive errors all around and in truth we were lucky that we went in at just 2-0 down.

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A Mo Salah goal looked to pull us back but Madrid netted another soon after to restore their cushion.

Michael Owen on Liverpool and Van Dijk

The Reds were all at sea at the back with the inexperience of the two centre backs thoroughly exposed.

The opposition were picking us apart with their long balls over the top.

Speaking to BT Sport, Michael Owen said Virgil van Dijk playing would’ve stopped Madrid even considering those passes:

“Half the teams that [Liverpool] play wouldn’t even try that ball when Van Dijk and Gomez are there.

“They wouldn’t even be working on it tactically. They’d just say ‘forget that, we’re not going over the top against these lads’, now people smell danger.”

What RTK has to say

Liverpool were shocking in the first half.

They were livelier in the second but our centre backs were just not up to the challenge.

Owen is right in that Van Dijk playing just completely alters how the opposition approach the game.

The Dutchman can’t come back soon enough.

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