Virgil van Dijk has looked a little unsure of what he’s supposed to be doing in Liverpool’s new system during pre-season.

Van Dijk’s role has changed both on and off the pitch for the Reds over recent months. Ever since Trent Alexander-Arnold’s switch to an inverted right-back role, the Dutchman has had to adjust slightly. Having also been made club captain recently, there’s a lot to get used to.

And according to former Manchester United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel, Virgil isn’t adjusting as well as he could.

Virgil van Dijk
Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Speaking to BBC 5 Live yesterday, Schmeichel said that having watched Liverpool against Bayern Munich in Singapore, Van Dijk isn’t looking his usual, confident self.

“It’s a pre-season game so don’t put too much into it, but based on some of his performances last season he looks a bit nervous,” said the United legend. “He looks unsure about what he’s supposed to do in the combinations that you can actually make in the centre of defence.”

Van Dijk urged to step up

If Liverpool are to have any chance of silverware this season, then they need Van Dijk back to something like his best.

Like most of his Reds colleagues, last year wasn’t a stellar one for the 32-year-old. Virgil’s dip in form even led to some questioning whether he’s now past his best as a footballer.

Those accusations will have stung the £75m man, who has been exceptional for most of the past five years.

Virgil van Dijk

The best way to bounce back is to do it on the pitch. Now captain of both club and country, Van Dijk has to step up and drag his teammates forward.

As we’ve seen over the years, he’s more than capable of doing that. With plenty of question marks over Liverpool’s defence now, Van Dijk has a huge, huge role to play.

On paper, his partnership with Ibrahima Konate is one of the best in the Premier League, even in Europe. But as they try to get their heads around what Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson are now doing, they haven’t been convincing in pre-season.

While we don’t agree with Schmeichel that Virgil has looked nervous – he never does – we do take the point that he can do better. The fact is that he simply has to. Another season like the last and it’ll surely be time to declare Van Dijk’s best days as being behind him. Go and prove them all wrong, Virg.

Related Topics