Erling Haaland, the record-setting goal scorer for Manchester City, claims that Virgil van Dijk is still the toughest opponent he has ever faced in the Premier League.
The Dutch defender has had a slump this season, and many pundits have openly criticized him for some of his performances, despite the Norwegian’s previous praise for him. Nevertheless, Haaland is adamant that he is the best defender playing in the English Premier League.
“Good defenders abound. Van Dijk of Liverpool is outstanding, I must say. He’s really good; I’ve played in Salzburg and have met him numerous times with the national team. That person comes to mind right now.”
Haaland has outperformed everyone this season, including scoring in the 3-2 Carabao Cup victory over the Reds back in December, so it seems like he holds van Dijk in high regard.
After a challenging season in which Liverpool’s defense has looked anything but secure, there is hope that the 31-year-old Dutchman can rediscover his top level even though some supporters believe he is now in terminal decline.
Van Dijk’s Form Will Be Key To Liverpool’s Revival
The Reds won’t be able to compete for the Premier League title again unless van Dijk regains his best form, despite all the talk of spending millions to strengthen the team’s midfield.
To date this season, Jurgen Klopp’s side have conceded 43 goals; if they are to compete against Haaland’s City once more, this number will need to significantly decline.
‘Started at Anfield’ – Mikel Arteta makes Liverpool admission after Arsenal lose title race to Man City
Manchester City rubber-stamped their fifth Premier League title in six years this weekend after overhauling Arsenal
Mikel Arteta, the manager of Arsenal, believes Liverpool were the impetus behind his team’s surrender of the title race to Manchester City, the Premier League champions this season.
The Gunners were ultimately beaten to the trophy by Pep Guardiola and his star-studded team despite having been in first place for many months of the season. In the past six years, City have won the championship five times. This season, they have a chance to win an unprecedented treble.
However, after witnessing their charge falter, Arsenal will need some time to reflect. And, according to Arteta, it very well could have started at Anfield last month when goals from Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino motivated the Reds to an incredible comeback against a 2-0 Arsenal lead.
Liverpool started their own European quest with a 2-2 draw in that match. However, it appears they will have to compete in the Europa League rather than joining Arsenal in the Champions League.
An understandably dejected Arteta said, “First of all, congratulations to Manchester City for winning the championship, but it is a sad day for us, after his team was defeated by Nottingham Forest on Saturday.
“I accept my responsibility for it. Fantastic when it’s beautiful; when it’s not, that’s sport.
“The number of goals we have given to the opponents recently has cost us, but we can’t put the blame on anyone,” Arteta, an Everton player who spent time in Merseyside during his playing career, continued. “In the last few weeks, we haven’t performed as well as a team as we could have.
“It all began after what occurred at Anfield. A lot of goals have been given up by us.
In those contests, we’ve conceded 16 goals.
That is impossible to maintain.
Margin is nonexistent.
“We have worked for 11 months to achieve our goal of winning the title, and we have been successful for so many days. Despite our efforts, we fell short. We now need to get better.”