Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk has been in the hot seat again following his poor performance against Arsenal last weekend. The centre-back’s recent form has led to much debate about whether his struggles are just a temporary dip or evidence of a decline. Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher defended Van Dijk, stating that he is simply having a poor season like all players, including Rio Ferdinand and John Terry. However, it’s hard to ignore the impact that Liverpool’s loss of physical intensity has had on Van Dijk’s performance. Jurgen Klopp’s side are registering fewer pressed sequences and forcing fewer turnovers, with the knock-on effect being gaps that leave Van Dijk and his teammates exposed. In addition, Van Dijk’s fatigue has also played a role, with the Dutchman playing over 7,000 minutes since the start of last season. It’s clear that Liverpool’s style of play and Van Dijk’s workload have taken a toll on the defender, but his importance to the team means that he will always be called upon when available.
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