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Life without Van Dijk

Discussion in 'The Football Forum' started by rurikbird, Oct 28, 2020.

  1. rurikbird

    rurikbird Part of the Furniture Honorary Member

    Aug 24, 2006
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    New York, NY
    Virgil's likely season-ending injury against Everton was a massive blow and it's fair to say the team's response to this event could be season-defining. Well, we're 3 games into the "post-Van Dijk" era and you have to say the response has been good. We've just had 2 back-to-back clean sheets in the Champions League and the only goal conceded in these 3 games was a very dodgy penalty on Fabinho against Sheffield United. We're not playing spectacular football by any means (which would be foolish to expect with the amount of injuries and games in quick succession), but the team seems to have really banded together amid the injury crisis and adopted "all hands on deck" mentality. Any remnants of the post-title hangover (which were so fully on display in the Villa drubbing) are truly out of our system now – we know other teams, even "smaller" ones, can hurt us and we just have to stay one step, one tackle, one pass ahead all the time and so far we've managed to do just that (and rode our luck at times too, to be fair).

    It would be preposterous to suggest that losing the world's best defender can be any kind of positive for our season – but it has to be said that he was one of the players who has let his standards slip somewhat after the title win and it is a fact that we conceded 7 in his last compete game and only 1 in 3 games thereafter. I've been impressed by Joe Gomez, who has had some really poor games at start the season, but has now by necessity adopted Virgil's leadership mantle and is so far thriving at LCB (and even trying Van Dijk-esque cross-field balls now, with varying success). Hendo coming back from injury has also helped to lead everyone by example and now Alisson (who had also dropped his standards post-title, as evidenced by save % and other stats) also made an extra effort to come back early and play through physical discomfort, because he knows the team desperately needs him. We're not out of the woods yet, but Klopp must be happy with the response he has seen from the team. It's been a truism among fans and pundits that almost anyone can look good playing alongside the towering Dutchman – well, now our players are trying to show the world that they are still worth something on their own.
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2020
  2. King Binny

    King Binny Very Well-Known Honorary Member

    Sep 2, 2006
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    - Liverpool have had four clean sheets in seven games since Virgil van Dijk's injury
    - Before Van Dijk got injured at Everton, Liverpool had conceded 14 goals in seven

    Article: A major talking point earlier in the season was Liverpool's high defensive line. Leeds did a brilliant job of getting at Liverpool in the opening game of the season, a gritty 4-3 win for the Reds at Anfield. The back line was clearly a disaster against Villa while their first clean sheet of the season was against a Chelsea side that played 45 minutes with 10 men.

    While there hasn't been a world of change since Van Dijk's injury, Liverpool do appear to be defending a bit deeper since the Dutchman was sidelined. A touch more caution to their defensive organisation appears to have gone a long way - in the games that have followed Van Dijk's injury, Liverpool average facing 3.3 shots on target a game, down on 4.5 with Van Dijk.

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