After a 7-2 thumping at the hands of Aston Villa, question marks were always going to be asked of Liverpool’s defence.
The result was the worst of Jurgen Klopp’s Anfield reign, and his team appeared shell-shocked as time and again the Midlanders carved open the Reds’ back four.
Until recently, Virgil van Dijk and his colleagues have been lauded. Rightly so.
However, since Liverpool secured the Premier League title last season, it does appear that they’ve taken their eye off of the ball a little. That they’ve become complacent.
That certainly appears to be the opinion of Sol Campbell.
“I know Van Dijk struggled in the Villa game, but he stands out these days because he’s head and shoulders above everyone else, which makes me wonder if that is hampering him at the same time,” the former Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur centre-back told The Athletic (subscription required), cited by the Daily Mirror.
“He’s the complete player in that position and has made it look easy, but maybe he’s not been challenged enough and then, like a cricketer being done by a slower ball, he’s come unstuck.
“If you’ve not been worrying about forwards troubling you, sometimes you drop your guard a fraction. It’s a natural human thing.
“Maybe that’s seeped in a bit at Liverpool in general. I’m sure Jurgen Klopp will recognise that and get them back on track.
“It would be interesting to see if Van Dijk would have stood out had he been playing in our time when there were lots of great centre-halves: me, John Terry, Tony Adams, Martin Keown, Jamie Carragher, Kolo Toure, Jaap Stam, Rio Ferdinand.”
Another reason for the dip in form, both individually and collectively, could be the sheer intensity with which Liverpool play the game.
In every single match the temp is kept incredibly high, and that’s bound to take its toll in the end.
Either way, it’s clear that the Dutchman has to find his mojo again quickly because the Reds are a much more solid team with him at the top of his game.