Premier League • England

Van Dijk admits Liverpool faults after reaching conclusion on how Reds’ season will go

Liverpool stars Roberto Firmino and Virgil van Dijk

Virgil van Dijk insisted he’s not naive after addressing his early-season dip, though stressed Liverpool have turned the corner after a few home truths were spoken.

The usually dependable Van Dijk started the season at club level in shaky fashion. Van Dijk wasn’t alone in a Liverpool shirt in that regard, but his struggles stood out given the extraordinarily high standards he’s set.

The Dutchman received criticism from varying corners of the media. Ex-pros piled in on the rare opening with his sluggish displays taken to task in the public sphere.

Van Dijk fired back in the aftermath of the 2-1 victory over Ajax. What’s more, ex-Liverpool right-back Glen Johnson, claimed there may be a reason behind Van Dijk’s struggles that isn’t his fault.

Regardless, the international break offered Van Dijk the opportunity to focus on the Netherlands and he impressed on Thursday night.

Louis van Gaal’s side defeated Poland 2-0 with Van Dijk keeping Robert Lewandowski contained throughout.

Speaking after the match (via the Liverpool Echo), Van Dijk owned up to his early-season struggles.

Van Dijk aware of greater responsibility

“I know I could have done better in the beginning of the season,” admitted Van Dijk. “I’m not naïve about that. I know very well when I make mistakes.

“I also know that I am one of the important players at the club and of course also here at the national team. I feel that responsibility.

“Mentally it’s a challenge. You feel a lot of pressure on your head. A lot of people forget that too, it’s not easy to do that.

“We all try to show our best and if, in my case, you are one of the mainstays at the club, then you get the criticism you deserve.

“You have to deal with that and that is not always easy. But I did that just fine.”

How will Liverpool’s season fare from here on out?

Liverpool have just two league wins from their first six and can count Arsenal and Man City among their next three opponents.

The Reds take on Brighton after the international break which will be their first league clash for a whole month.

Their latest results saw a truly dismal display put in against Napoli. A 4-1 defeat in Italy did not flatter Napoli whatsoever.

However, Liverpool responded with a vital 2-1 win over Ajax at Anfield a week later. The Reds showed glimpses of their best against the Dutch side and were unfortunate not to score more.

Van Dijk cited those two fixtures as the turning point in Liverpool’s season. In his mind at least, the Reds have turned the corner and it’s all systems go from here.

“We spoke well (with each other), especially in the week leading up to the (Champions League) match against Ajax,” he continued.

“It doesn’t mean it can’t happen again. But it is important, and I see that with the national team too, that the focus is all in the same direction. That is the basis for success.”