Peter Schmeichel did not have fond words for Virgil van Dijk after a sloppy first-half display in defence against Manchester City.
Virgil van Dijk is widely considered the best centre-back in world football, although the performance against Manchester City was far from impressive. The Dutchman was not directly at fault for conceding the goals, but the defender did lack his usual authority at the back.
Van Dijk usually illustrates a persona of calmness, which becomes the theme of the Liverpool backline, but that aura was missing at times on Sunday. As Manchester City broke the deadlock in the game through a Kevin De Bruyne goal, the moments before and after the strike were nervous for Liverpool.
For the second Manchester City goal, the entire defence switched off as Joao Cancelo sent a beautiful ball into the box and Gabriel Jesus broke the lines to slot past Alisson. Yet again, there was a lack of awareness, and former Manchester United and Manchester City goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel has pinned the blame on Van Dijk for bringing in mistakes at the back.
Schmeichel, speaking to the BBC via The Boot Room said during the game, “Liverpool look rattled in defence. Virgil van Dijk should be a calming influence, but he is making mistakes. He has made three big mistakes; Alisson has had two kicks turn into chances for City.”
As a defender, van Dijk rarely makes mistakes, let alone costly ones. But Schmeichel did not mince his words in criticising the Liverpool mainstay. The two goals that Liverpool conceded in the first half were costly, but a Sadio Mane strike early in the second half helped the Reds restore parity.
Liverpool and Manchester City will not have to wait too long before they face each other as the giants will meet each other in the FA Cup semi-final. The Reds are still in the hunt for an unprecedented quadruple, and the Blues are tracking a treble.
With seven games to play for both sides and a point separating them at the top of the table, the Premier League season enters an intense phase. Both have a chance to clinch the title by the last day of the season, although each will be wary of making critical errors that may cost them points.