Jurgen Klopp should be ‘worried’ about Liverpool’s ‘casual’ defence, says Roy Keane, who thinks an on-pitch argument between Virgil van Dijk and James Milner had more to it.
Manchester United inflicted Liverpool’s first Premier League defeat of 2022, with goals from Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford leaving the Reds still searching for their first win of the season.
The 2-1 defeat follows draws against Fulham and Crystal Palace in which £75million signing Van Dijk was questioned for first giving away a penalty on Aleksandar Mitrovic, and then not making a challenge on Wilfred Zaha before he gave the Eagles the lead at Anfield.
The Netherlands captain was seen rooted to the spot when United took the lead, giving Sancho all the time in the world to pick a corner after Milner had gone to ground to make a block.
Veteran midfielder Milner then berated his teammate in the aftermath in a flashpoint during the first half.
Teammate arguments are certainly not uncommon in the Premier League, but seven-time winner Keane thinks this one had more to it.
“I’d be worried if I was Klopp with what I’ve seen tonight,” the former United captain said on Sky Sports.
“Defensively [they were] very, very casual, going back to the Fulham game, Van Dijk even the other night against Palace, I thought he could’ve done better.
“Tonight, we made the point about him arguing with James Milner, I know that can happen but it just seemed a bit more than that, more than the normal falling out with a player.”
Fellow pundit and Liverpool stalwart Jamie Carragher was in agreement with Keane, questioning if Van Dijk wasn’t aggressive enough.
“It’s the only thing I’d question Virgil van Dijk on as a player,” the former centre back said.
“If you go through a checklist of a centre back, he’s ten out of ten for most things. The one thing that I do sometimes think is does he lack a bit of intensity at certain times.
“I even think of the Champions League final, the cross that came in he was just hanging his leg out.
“I know you never see him on the floor and that’s a strength for a defender – a defender who’s always on the floor, that’s not a good sign – but now and again when you’re in the proverbial, you’ve got to throw yourself at it.
“Crystal Palace was one of those where he had to just go to the floor and make a block, that one there he’s just stood there, he gave the penalty away at Fulham as well.
“That one there you’ve just got to go flying out and throw yourself at him, slide along the floor, make yourself as big as possible, you can’t just stand there, he almost made himself smaller by the way he stood.
“That is the one thing that I sometimes think, go be more aggressive, maybe slide in, maybe throw yourself in front of something.”
Van Dijk’s fellow defender Andy Robertson was asked about the argument between the Dutchman and Milner post-match, and said the top priority is unity.
“Of course we’re frustrated,” he said. “We’re a team that want to win games and right now it’s not happening.
“But it’s so important that we stick together, the team is tight, we’re a really close unit and obviously things need to be said but also we need to stick together and we’re all in it together and things will get better.
“I do believe that but that needs to start quickly because it’s not been the start we wanted, we’re far behind where we want to be and in this league it’s very unforgiving, so we need to get results quickly, we need to click into gear and if we do that then I’m sure we’ll look back on this and think that’s what kickstarted it.”
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