Liverpool defender Joe Gomez is making centre-back teammate Virgil van Dijk play even worse.
That’s the view of TalkSPORT pundit Darren Bent. Speaking on the radio show yesterday, the former England striker tried to explain Van Dijk’s slight dip in form this season.
“He’s [Van Dijk] obviously come back from this injury. Yes he’s made mistakes Virgil, but he’s still one of the best centre-halves in the world,” Bent explained. “But when you put someone who’s so inconsistent next to him and lacking form, he’s having to do even more work to try and cover Joe Gomez.
“He [Gomez] was appalling [against Real Madrid]. So it must make him incredibly on edge. Not only that, but the goalkeeper behind you who, okay I get it he’s making saves, but he’s starting to make a few more mistakes.”
All valid points from Bent, it has to be said. But with Virgil being as good as he is, you still expect him to rise above these things. He is only human after all, though. Anyway, Bent thinks with the right player alongside him, and a couple of midfield signings, Liverpool will be back.
“I do think they need to get rid of a fair few of them. If they bring in two midfielders and a centre-half, I genuinely think Liverpool will be there back fighting on all fronts again,” said the pundit.
Liverpool’s defence in need of rescue
For years, it hasn’t seemed to matter who plays alongside Van Dijk. The Dutchman has excelled next to all three of Gomez, Joel Matip and Ibrahima Konate at times.
Not only that, but Virgil has also helped to raise the levels of each player in turn, too. Gomez and Matip in particular have been phenomenal partners to the 31-year-old.
But now, with Liverpool’s No.4 losing his level ever so slightly, that seems to have had a knock-on effect to his defensive colleague.
It’s a little bit of a ‘chicken and egg’ scenario really. Are Gomez and Matip playing worse because Van Dijk has dropped off a touch, or is Van Dijk not as dominant because each man alongside him is playing worse?
Whatever the answer, the end result is the same: Liverpool’s once imperious defence is starting to crumble.
The solution for that is simple, really. Firstly, Liverpool need Konate back fit on a consistent basis. The 23-year-old has rarely been available this season but when he has played, he’s been great. Secondly, they need to bring in a new face. Josko Gvardiol, anyone?
Keep up to date with all the latest Liverpool news and opinion by following Rousing The Kop’s official Facebook page