Klopp must address mounting Liverpool issue as Van Dijk suggests key ingredient is ‘creeping away’
Jurgen Klopp will have to address the confidence problem at Liverpool as key player Virgil van Dijk suggests it is ‘creeping away’ among the players.
Liverpool dropped points again on Sunday as they were beaten 3-2 by Arsenal at the Emirates. Liverpool have dominated the fixture in recent years but met an Arsenal team in great form this time around. Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka were the standout players.
Martinelli put Arsenal in front with just 58 seconds on the clock as he got in behind Trent Alexander-Arnold and finished past Alisson.
Darwin Nunez netted a crucial goal in the 34th minute to bring Liverpool back into the match.
The Reds began to look more assured in possession and were seemingly on top. However, Alexander-Arnold was once again caught out of position in first-half injury time. This allowed Martinelli to set up Saka for another Arsenal goal.
Roberto Firmino dragged Liverpool back to 2-2 early into the second half. But Arsenal had the final say as Thiago clipped Gabriel Jesus in the box and Saka scored the resultant penalty.
The defeat leaves Liverpool in 10th place, with just two wins from eight league games. It is still relatively early in the campaign, admittedly. But Liverpool are already facing a major fight to get into the Champions League places. And winning the title seems impossible, too.
In recent years, Liverpool have dominated teams. Klopp has helped them to do this by instilling the players with plenty of confidence. But centre-back Van Dijk has suggested this key ingredient for success is ‘creeping away’, which will give Klopp a major worry.
Virgil van Dijk talks Liverpool confidence – or lack of it
“Confidence is definitely a thing that plays a part. We are all human beings and sometimes you need a bit of confidence in certain moments,” Van Dijk said during a post-match interview with Sky Sports (via the Daily Mirror).
“Like what I said before, every human being in any job needs a little bit of confidence in order to perform at the highest level. If you are not winning at the highest level like we are used to, then confidence is creeping away but we know it can turn around just like that, we have to work hard.”
The Dutchman was then quizzed about Liverpool’s defensive frailty. Alexander-Arnold regularly seems to be caught out, while Van Dijk himself hasn’t looked at his brilliant best.
“If you concede goals it’s not a good thing, we do everything in our power to avoid it,” Van Dijk replied. “But we have already conceded too many in my opinion and there is always multiple reasons for it.”
It is not just that Liverpool have been playing badly this term. They have also had plenty of injuries to deal with.
And the situation shows no sign of stopping as recent arrival Arthur Melo will be out for several months with a muscle problem. He needs surgery on the issue.
Against Arsenal, Alexander-Arnold and Luis Diaz also picked up injuries. It remains to be seen if the pair will be fit for when Liverpool take on Rangers on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Klopp has spoken openly about Liverpool’s chances of winning the title and also sent an accusation towards Mikel Arteta.