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Virgil van Dijk speaks out on criticism during 2022/23 season

Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk received a lot of criticism last campaign.

During his first few seasons at Liverpool, Virgil van Dijk was touted as one of the best centre-backs in the history of the Premier League.

The Dutchman, along with Alisson, was brought in to plug Liverpool’s leaky defence and was able to do exactly that – playing a key role in Liverpool’s 2019 Champions League triumph and their Premier League win in 2019/20.

However, the last year or so has seen Van Dijk’s form fall away. It was particularly bad in the first half of 2022/23, when Liverpool as a squad were struggling a lot.

The Reds found form in the second half of the campaign and a long winning run allowed them to secure 5th place in the division.

And now, Van Dijk has spoken out on the criticism both he and the Liverpool squad received over the course of the last campaign.

“In football, it’s never plain sailing – but this season was still quite a shock,” he said. “Sometimes the criticism was just right, both on the team and on me individually. But quite often it was not quite right. Either way, you have to be able to deal with it – and I’m glad I came out of it well. Mentally, that’s not always easy.”

“The problem is that, as a footballer, you can’t really say much back. If you do that once, you immediately have the puppets dancing. I am someone who consciously doesn’t read, listen or watch much. I can shut myself off from it. But you do get told a lot by other people – and then you can’t escape it.”

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Josh Barker

Middlesbrough fan from the North East of England. @JoshBarker979 on Twitter.

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