Liverpool legend Graeme Souness has slammed Virgil van Dijk for his role in Chelsea‘s equalizer at Stamford Bridge. The two sides played out an entertaining 2-2 draw with all four goals coming in the first half, as the Blues staged an impressive fightback to salvage a well-deserved point.
Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah put Liverpool well on course for a famous away victory, but Mateo Kovacic halved the deficit with a stunning goal towards the end of the first half. Christian Pulisic completed the comeback with a well-taken goal from close range, as the Liverpool defender failed to get close to the American.
Speaking on Sky Sports (quotes via The Mirror), Souness highlighted Van Dijk’s role in the lead-up to Chelsea’s equalizer, as he questioned the Dutchman’s apparent lack of effort.
“Why has Van Dijk not come across there? He’s just running in a straight line back to his goal. Come over, come over, come over – he’s not even sprinting.”
Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher also highlighted the Reds’ defensive frailties and pointed out that they’ve ‘got an obsession’ with playing a high-line and catching teams offside.
“They’ve got an obsession, Liverpool’s centre-backs, you see this a lot where they always stay in line with each other. They never cover each other – there’s an obsession with playing offside. We noticed that right throughout the game, the space between the two centre-backs is too big.
“Initially, his starting position, Van Dijk, because he’s not intense enough to get over, he doesn’t want to cover his other centre-back. He stays in the same line, and that’s why he’s too far to get across.”
Liverpool and Chelsea face uphill battle to dethrone Manchester City at the Premier League summit
Manchester City are ten points clear of second-placed Chelsea at the top of the table, although Liverpool can leapfrog the Blues and reduce the gap to eight if they win their game in hand.
Pep Guardiola’s side are in pole position to win their fourth Premier League title in five years and have looked unstoppable in recent weeks, having won 11 league games on the bounce.
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Manchester City and Chelsea will lock horns on the 15th of January in what could be another important game in the title race. Will the Cityzens continue their winning streak with another famous result at the Etihad Stadium? Only time will tell.