Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk has received some slightly bizarre criticism from pundit Garth Crooks this week.
Writing in his weekly BBC Sport column, Crooks included Reds centre-back Joel Matip in his best XI from the weekend’s Premier League action.
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And in explaining his decision, the former Tottenham man had a dig at Van Dijk for not necessarily doing enough of the dirty work in defence in comparison to his centre-back partner Matip.
“Whenever Joel Matip plays for Liverpool he appears to be the one who is making all the last-ditch tackles, getting the ball smashed in his face and coming to Liverpool’s aid in a crisis,” Crooks said.
“Meanwhile, Virgil van Dijk looks beautifully groomed, hair swept back in a ponytail, strolling around looking like he’s just returned from a week in Vegas!
“Matip must get Van Dijk to do his share of the heavy lifting when the Reds are up against it away from home.
“I know Matip is the junior partner here but, come on, fair is fair.”
While it may be true that the Netherlands international has a slightly more casual-looking playing style, that’s arguably one of his strengths.
And, besides, with Van Dijk being one of Liverpool’s most important players since he joined midway through the 2017/18 season, it seems harsh to be picking him up on a few casual performances here and there.
We’re not sure most Liverpool fans would agree with Crooks’ assessment of their star player, even if he was right to pay tribute to the excellent work that Matip does at the back.
The former Cameroon international is something of an unsung hero in this LFC side and works very well alongside Van Dijk.