Liverpool have ‘no chance’ of defending Premier League title unless one star improves

Former Liverpool player Steve Nicol has warned his old club they will not defend their Premier League title if Virgil van Dijk doesn’t improve.

The champions got their season underway in an intriguing clash with newly-promoted Leeds at Anfield on Saturday.

And in the first half, there were five goals scored between the sides with the Reds taking a 3-2 lead.

Leeds’ second goal, courtesy of Patrick Bamford, came after Van Dijk was too casual in dealing with a long ball over the top.

The Dutch defender, who is widely considered to be the best centre-back in Europe, could only flick the ball to Bamford who raced forward and side-footed into the goal past Alisson.

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On the commentary for Sky Sports, Kop hero Jamie Carragher said Van Dijk had been too arrogant.

But Van Dijk responded to Carragher, insisting: “It was one of those, they are situations that can happen.

“I always try to do my best and that’s what I did. Unfortunately, a goal came from it but I don’t worry about that.”

Last season Van Dijk was at fault for a goal in the 2-1 defeat to Arsenal after gifting the ball to Reiss Nelson.

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And Nicol believes Van Dijk has lost focus since Liverpool won the title and feels the £75million defender needs reset himself and start again.

He told ESPN FC: “Since actually Liverpool won the league, he has stepped off his perch and onto somebody else’s.

“When Liverpool signed him, up until his signing, they had problems defensively. This guy came in and absolutely solidified it. He was the rock.

“But now, after this performance [against Leeds], and previously, Liverpool and Klopp have to go back to square one when Van Dijk came in.

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“Get on the training field and do what they did to make it a good line, a solid line and an organised line because it wasn’t those things.

“It hasn’t been like that since they won the Premier League. Van Dijk has taken a step down.

“He has to dust himself off, have a look at what he did right and have a look at what he’s doing wrong and start again.

“That’s what Liverpool have to do defensively – if they don’t they have no chance of defending the Premier League title.”

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