- Jamie Carragher has jumped to the defense of Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk
- Van Dijk was criticized for his performance in the Reds’ 2-2 draw with Arsenal
- Carragher went on to insist that the Liverpool man was “much better than Vidic”.
Jamie Carragher has come to the defense of Virgil van Dijk, claiming the Liverpool defender is “much better than Nemanja Vidic”.
The Netherlands international drew criticism on social media for the Reds’ 2-2 draw with Arsenal on Sunday afternoon, with particular focus on his role in the first goal.
Van Dijk casually tried to clear the ball, sending it into the path of Arsenal forward Gabriel Martinelli, who proceeded to smash the ball into the back of the net.
A number of social media channels have posted about the centre-back’s performance, with one suggesting that van Dijk has been “in decline” and citing previous comparisons with “Terry, Kompany, Rio and Vidic”.
Carragher took to Twitter on Monday morning to rebuke those criticisms and insist the Liverpool defender remains “the best centre-back in the league”.
Karager wrote: “VVD is much better than Vidic who was a top CB but have you forgotten his performances against Torres?”
This was a reference to the horrific time Vidic hit Torres during Liverpool’s 4-1 win at Old Trafford in March 2009. The Spaniard scored and Vidic was sent off.
STATS: VAN DYK VS VIDIC
Premier League matches played.
Van Dyke: 220
Vidic – 211
Premier League clean sheets.
Van Dijk – 90
Vidic – 95
Van Dyke – 202
Vidic – 133
Statistics via Premier League
Karager added: “Rio & JT have had bad seasons in their careers, like all players, VVD is having them now. No CB has ever had a VVD impact on a team in the PL era.
“Never mind the best KB in the league, he was the best player in the league with KDB four years before this one.
“We’ve never talked about another CBA being the best player before, that shows the level he’s been at.”
The centre-back came under fire from Sky Sports pundits Roy Keane and Gary Neville for his part in Arsenal’s two goals on the day.
Gabriel Jesus put the Gunners 2-0 up after just 20 minutes, rising above Virgil van Dijk, who stood to watch Martinelli’s cross sail over his head, allowing the Arsenal forward to head past the keeper.
Analyzing the goal, Keane said: “Really bad defense. “Liverpool” is not in it. No intensity. Jesus is standing in the middle of the box.
“Van Dijk watches the ball. There is no pressure on the ball. It is too easy for Arsenal. I bet he can’t believe his luck.’
Neville later added: “There is an element of luck in that Liverpool back four. You can protect them because they have the loan in the bank over the years, the submissions, but it becomes really difficult.
‘They don’t do the main thing. Even there, Trent is not sprinting back. Van Dijk is idle, get someone up. It’s schoolboy stuff,” he added.
Van Dijk has established himself as one of the best defenders in the world during his Liverpool career but, like his teammates, has struggled to find consistency this season.
The 31-year-old was left out of Liverpool’s recent goalless draw with Chelsea but returns to the starting line-up for Sunday’s Anfield clash.
Commentator Martin Tyler tried to inject some humor into the occasion by comparing Van Dijk’s defense against Arsenal to that of former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher.
Carragher, along with Neville, is part of Sky’s match commentary team and has been slammed by colleagues for covering his horrific performance against legendary Arsenal striker Thierry Henry in 2004.
In that game, he was ravaged by Arsenal’s Premier League title-winner, with Tyler quipping Van Dijk’s foul “reminded me of Carragher v Henry”.
Tyler then added: “It could be the anniversary of Carragher vs. Henry. on April 9, before Karager answered. “Heaven is never ashamed to show it.”
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