'He jockeys and jockeys' - Ian Wright slams Virgil van Dijk defensive display against Arsenal

Liverpool captain Virgil van Dijk has come in for some severe criticism following the Reds’ 3-1 loss to Arsenal in the Premier League on Sunday. 

The 32-year-old was involved in a mix-up with Alisson Becker for the game’s pivotal moment when the vastly experienced duo got their wires crossed and allowed Gabriel Martinelli to give Arsenal a 2-1 lead with around 23 minutes left. 

In the immediate aftermath of the game, which saw Liverpool drop crucial points to not only Arsenal but also Manchester City in the title race, Van Dijk accepted responsibility for the error

“The 2-1 goal, I take full responsibility for that,” he told Sky Sports. “But it’s a big turning point in the game. I should have done better, I should have made a better decision there. It hurts for me, and it hurts for the rest of the team. 

“I should just clear it, but I made the split-second wrong decision and unfortunately, these things happen sometimes in football. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that it hurts.”

It was a day to forget for Jurgen Klopp’s side, who finished with 10 men on the pitch after Ibrahima Konate was given two yellow cards. 

According to Opta, Liverpool also suffered an xG (expected goals) against of 3.52, the highest on record. 

Ian Wright, the former Arsenal striker, was analysing the game on his Wrighty’s House podcast on Monday and claimed Van Dijk could've done better for the Gunners' third goal, when Leandro Trossard netted in injury time.  

“I thought that Van Dijk could have came across quicker,” the former striker said. 

“You don’t really see too many people go towards Van Dijk, do a bit with him, beat him and score. I believe he thought the wider he goes he’s not beating Alisson because Alisson’s too good, he’s banked on that. 

“I’m thinking surely you’ve got to close him down and then the shot came off of him because he didn’t tackle. I’ve seen that from Virgil for a little while now, he jockeys and jockeys and jockeys.”

Van Dijk sparked intrigue last week when questioned about his own future in light of Jurgen Klopp’s end-of-season departure from the club. 

The Dutchman admitted he was “curious” to see how Liverpool moved on from Klopp and could not give assurances that he would be there to see it through. 

Van Dijk is out of contract in the summer of 2025 and it remains to be seen what the Reds’ new hierarchy will have got planned for him. 

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