What is it with Liverpool and perches?
Sir Alex Ferguson infamously declared how he knocked “ Liverpool right off their f******g perch.”
After finally laying their hands on the Premier League title this summer and ending a 30-year Championship wait, the Merseysiders were duly proclaimed to be back on their perch.
Now, after a thrill-a-minute opening day encounter with Leeds United, in which they conceded three times but Mohamed Salah’s late penalty gave them a 4-3 victory – and the Egyptian a hattrick – talks of perches are back on the agenda.
This time it’s former Reds defender Steve Nicol who, while also labelling Liverpool’s defensive structure an “absolute and utter shambles,” is taking aim at Virgil van Dijk.
The giant Dutchman found himself at fault for Patrick Bamford’s first-half goal – which made it 2-2.
Jamie Carragher, speaking while commentating for Sky Sports, labelled the Dutchman “arrogant” for attempting to flick the ball over Bamford’s head to a teammate, rather than playing safe and clearing his lines or nodding back to ‘keeper Alisson.
And Nicol, who spent 13 years at Anfield, winning four league titles, believes Van Dijk “has taken a step down” and eased up since their title success.
“Since Liverpool won the league, he [Van Dijk] has stepped off his perch onto somebody else’s,” exclaimed Nicol, speaking on ESPN.
“When Liverpool signed him, up until his signing they had problems defensively and particularly with the line.
“When this guy came in he absolutely solidified it, and was the rock.
“But now, after this performance and previously, Liverpool and Klopp need to go back to square one like when Van Dijk came in and get back on the training field to make it a good line, a solid line and an organised line.
“Van Dijk has taken a step down. He needs to dust himself off, have a look at what he did right, what he’s been doing wrong, and start again.
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Liverpool got their title defence off to a shaky start as they edged out a seven-goal thriller against Leeds.
The Reds remain keen on Bayern Munich's Thiago Alcantara, but Georginio Wijnaldum continues to be linked with Barcelona.
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“And that’s what Liverpool need to do defensively, they need to start again like when that guy walked through the door and do what they did to solidify.
“Because if they don’t then they have no chance of the Premier League title.
“The sooner they sort this out the better, but can they sort it out? It was such a shambles.”
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