Virgil van Dijk hits back at Roy Keane amid ‘pub defending’ accusations

Virgil van Dijk has responded to recent criticism of his performances, insisting that some of the comments are “not quite right.”

The defender had experienced a difficult 2022/23 campaign from both individual and collective standpoints as the Reds failed to qualify for the Champions League for the first time since 2016.

Van Dijk made 41 appearances in all competitions throughout last season as Liverpool fell to their worst ever campaign under Jurgen Klopp.

Several pundits have singled out the Netherlands captain for criticism following the underwhelming campaign, with Roy Keane accusing Van Dijk and his peers of “defending like a pub team.”

Liverpool’s No.4 has since responded to the evaluations of Keane and others, insisting that while some of the noise is fair, others are wide of the mark.

“In football it’s never plain sailing – but this season was still quite a shock. Sometimes the criticism was just right, both on the team and on me individually,” Van Dijk told the Mirror.

“But quite often it was not quite right. Either way, you should be able to deal with it – and I’m happy I came out of it well. Mentally, that’s not always easy.”

The Reds conceded 47 Premier League goals in the 2022/23 season, up significantly from the 26 shipped in the season before.

The centre-back will be hoping to put things right in the coming season as Liverpool look to compete on all fronts once more and admitted that the scrutiny is “part” of playing for a top side.

“Criticism is part of it – and it’s certainly not a problem if it’s justified. But a footballer knows when his performance is good or poor,” he continued.

“Some comments are also only intended to generate controversy and are said just for the sake of saying them. There are so many platforms on which people can express their opinions nowadays.”

Earlier this week, Van Dijk called for Klopp to make a “couple more” signings in the summer window after the arrival of Alexis Mac Allister.

Liverpool will be hoping that some extra additions and a positive pre-season can initiate a much-improved 2023/24 campaign in all competitions.


Igbo Kennedy

Igbo Kennedy

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