Jamie Carragher has slammed Virgil van Dijk for his part in Arsenal’s equaliser in the 1-1 draw at the Emirates on Saturday evening.
Liverpool took the lead just after the hour mark after James Milner fired home from the edge of the box, but were pegged back when Alexandre Lacazette expertly evaded the attentions of goalkeeper Alisson, before firing home from a difficult angle.
While Lacazette had a lot of work to do to find the back of the net, Carragher was quick to point out that the goal could potentially have been thwarted had £75 million defender, Virgil van Dijk, been in the right position – criticising him for just walking back.
“Now I want to look at Lacazette’s goal and I’m actually going to pick on one of my favourite players in the league in Virgil van Dijk, who I think was the best player on the pitch at the weekend,” Carragher said on Monday Night Football.
“We’ve been saying for a while now he’s the best centre-back in the Premier League. I actually think he’s one of the best players in the league.
“As a centre-back, and it’s not just Van Dijk, you look at the positions.
“So you’ve got Van Dijk the right side of Lacazette, you’ve got (Joe) Gomez the right side of (Danny) Welbeck and Trent (Alexander-Arnold) on the far side is inside (Aaron) Ramsey.
“Now, what I’m talking about as a defender is when the ball’s that side as a defender, I want to be here so I’m first to the ball and he can’t make that run in behind, I don’t want to be behind him or the wrong side of him.
“So that’s fine when the ball’s on that side where Van Dijk is, all three defenders are in a great position.
“Van Dijk makes the one mistake he made in the game. He doesn’t get the other side because he walks.
“So as the ball comes over now and you know that’s going to be switched, you have to get there, Gomez has to get there.
“Gomez does it but just keep an eye on Van Dijk, he walks. Walking, walking, walking, as he steps in now, Van Dijk has a massive problem. He needs to be there and he’s not, because he’s just switched off for a second.
“So straight away, why I’m talking about being in the right position is that Lacazette can now get that ball.
“He couldn’t get that ball on the other side because Van Dijk was in the right position. And because he doesn’t get over quick enough, he tries to play offside because he knows he can’t get there.”