Virgil van Dijk has been criticised for ‘giving up’ after his wretched first-half performance for Liverpool against Bournemouth.
The Reds came into Saturday’s game flying after last Sunday’s historic 7-0 victory over arch-rivals at Manchester United but endured a poor first-half on the coast, trailing thanks to Philip Billing’s 28th minute opener.
Dango Ouattara was able to easily drive down the right wing, shrugging off van Dijk before moving past the Dutchman and cutting the back for Billings to drill home.
Former Liverpool players Peter Crouch and Steve McManaman were left unimpressed with Liverpool’s defending as a whole and van Dijk’s efforts, with the former feeling the defender had made life ‘too easy’ for Bournemouth.
‘It was disappointing,’ Crouch told BT Sport. ‘Van Dijk seems to give up, Trent Alexander-Arnold switches off and it’s too, too easy for Bournemouth’
McManaman added: ‘All the bad habits have come back, they are really lethargic. This high line they keep doing, gambling to play offside… they have been terrible, really, really poor and they have to liven up.’
Van Dijk was wearing the captain’s armband on Saturday with Jordan Henderson deemed only fit enough for the bench having struggled with illness.
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The defender showed his frustration after Bournemouth’s opening goal with former Chelsea star Joe Cole, who also had a spell at Liverpool, also critical of his reaction having been at fault himself.
‘It’s a simple ball over the top. He gets back in but now he needs to switch on, he should be in business’ Cole said.
‘When have we ever seen Virgil van Dijk just stroll past someone in that situation? He just switches off.
‘Look at that reaction, you don’t want that from your captain.’
However, Bllings’ goal was enough to give Bournemouth a huge victory at the bottom of the table with Mohamed Salah missing a penalty.