Wednesday, December 6News That Matters

Van Dijk fires back at criticism of Liverpool’s defending in Real Madrid beating

Virgil van Dijk has hit back at the huge criticism of his and Liverpool’s defending in last night’s 5-2 Champions League defeat against Real Madrid.

The Reds looked to be on course to avenge defeat in last season’s final when they went into a two goal lead inside the opening quarter of an hour, with Darwin Nunez and Salah both on target.

But Real responded with a devastating display of attacking football and clinical finishing to render the return leg almost irrelevant.

While players like Vinicius Junior and Karim Benzema took the plaudits, Real’s rampant forwards benefited from the poor defending that has become a hallmark of Liverpool’s season that is likely to be reduced to competing for a top four place in the Premier League.

Jamie Carragher was majorly scathing in his assessment of Liverpool’s defending and picked Van Dijk for criticism, but the Dutchman said mistakes were inevitable, while saying he and his fellow teammates should not be treated as robots.

He said: ‘Losing is never good and the way we lost today to almost not giving ourselves a chance in Madrid is tough.

‘We played against Real Madrid, holders of the Champions League, quality players all over the team they can punish you and mistakes you make.

‘Mistakes happen we are not robots and unfortunately it is the case. The only thing we can do is learn from it and focus on the next one to make sure it doesn’t happen.

‘Don’t panic, obviously don’t be happy we lost, that’s how it should be but we have to recover now and focus on Crystal Palace.

‘You play football also with your head but obviously it’s a football thing, you make mistakes and they punish you and that’s the case.

‘Obviously they have the quality, they are one of the biggest clubs in the world and they punish you, that’s what they did to us today.

‘We have almost an impossible job in Madrid in three weeks time but when the time is right we’ll focus and we will give everything and represent the club as best as we can.

‘Until then we will try to keep improving and focus on Crystal Palace of course.’

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