EUROPEAN FOOTBALL

Liverpool ’s defence ‘aren’t their normal selves’ after Wijnaldum’s departure

Liverpool has been advised on what to do to obtain the most significant performance possible from Virgil Van Dijk and company. Graeme Souness thinks that without a pressing midfielder like Georginio Wijnaldum in front of them, Liverpool’s defence “aren’t their normal selves”. Wijnaldum, a highly regarded player for the Reds, left the squad in 2021.

Liverpool aren’t defensively good after Wijnaldum’s departure

Liverpool Boss Klopp called the Dutchman a “dressing room leader”. Klopp was obviously quite impressed with him both on and off the pitch. A combination of players who are either too young or too old to hold onto the position and a spate of injuries have contributed to Liverpool’s centre of the field appearing to be incredibly poor this season.

According to Souness, Virgil Van Dijk and the rest of the team are suffering as a result. Following a thrilling 4-3 victory over Tottenham on Sunday, Souness was asked what areas of Liverpool’s squad needed strengthening. He responded, “I think going forward Liverpool have enough firepower. They need, in my opinion, bolster their midfield.”

Souness shows faith in Liverpool defenders and blames midfielders.

“I think that back four – with [Joel] Matip – have been fabulous for a number of years but the midfield, if you go back to the start of the season, we were pointing fingers at Liverpool’s back four, and for me, yes, some of them weren’t their normal selves.”

“But a lot of it stems from the midfield, where you’ve got a midfield that are not continually putting the ball under pressure like Liverpool for a good five years – that Wijnaldum, [Jordan] Henderson – who as a midfield player I would have not liked to have played against them. I think address that and Liverpool will be fine.”

Liverpool eventually defeated Tottenham, but in the process, they lost a good 3-0 lead. Ivan Perisic turned the often-dominant Van Dijk inside out for the opening goal. The Croatian gently floated the ball into Harry Kane’s path. During the 2018/2019 Premier League season, not a single player managed to dribble past Van Dijk.

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