Liverpool’s club-record signing Virgil van Dijk acknowledges his price tag makes him open to criticism but insists having his every move to be scrutinised does not concern him.
The Holland international became the world’s most expensive defender a month ago after his £75million move from Southampton, but has been viewed as the answer to the Reds’ problems at the back for much longer than that.
Because manager Jurgen Klopp was prepared to wait six months to get his number one transfer target there is a huge expectation on the Dutchman to provide an instant fix.
While he has already made a difference in the four matches he has played, Van Dijk is still far from his best having missed a large part of 2017 through injury – but accepts his price tag and reputation make him a target.
“I can’t do anything about that. Obviously, there are so many eyes on me but I am just keeping my head down and playing,” said the centre-back.
“Everybody can say what they want but I am working hard every day and I am getting back to where I need to be with the help of everyone here. I am just doing my thing.
“I have been out for eight months – last January until September really – and I didn’t play at Premier League level.
“It is not easy to come back, especially when I have made such a big step as now with all the eyes on me and they look at every small detail.”
Asked if he has a message for his critics, Van Dijk simply insisted: “Other people will talk and have their opinions. There is nothing I can do about that. You are always going to be judged but it is not like it is something really strange at the moment.
“I know because I made such a big step right now, for a lot of money, everything is going to analysed.
“No-one is going to look at the good things that you do. Everybody is going to watch the bad things and that is how it is. But I will discuss it with the people who want to make me better, who can make me better, that is the manager and the players around me.
“If they think it is right that is good then that is the way forward.”
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