Rio Ferdinand criticises Liverpool duo Virgil van Dijk and Dejan Lovren

Former Manchester United defender, Rio Ferdinand (C) plays football during the Tiger Street Football Grand Final tournament in Yangon on November 23, 2019. (Photo by Sai Aung Main

Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool failed to win against Napoli at Anfield on Wednesday.

Dejan Lovren of Liverpool acknowledges the fans following the UEFA Champions League group E match between Liverpool FC and SSC Napoli at Anfield on November 27, 2019 in Liverpool, United...

Rio Ferdinand has criticised Liverpool duo Virgil van Dijk and Dejan Lovren for their role in the goal that Napoli scored, as quoted in The Express.

Liverpool played out a 1-1 draw with Napoli at Anfield in Champions League Group E on Wednesday evening.

The Serie A outfit actually took the lead in the 21st minute, and Manchester United legend Ferdinand was not impressed with the roles of defenders Van Dijk and Lovren, who cost the Reds £75 million and £20 million respectively in transfer fees, as reported on BBC Sport.

The Express quotes Ferdinand as saying: “To see Van Dijk on the floor in a heap on the halfway line with a nudge is disappointing. I’m sure he will be disappointed. Great finish, fantastic finish.

“They press them high and force them to kick out of the keeper’s hands, which is part of their game plan. You see Van Dijk goes up here, takes a knock, and I’ll slow it down here when the ball gets out there to the wide player. Once the ball gets out there, Lovren has a decision to make.

“He sees his friend, his partner, Van Dijk, is hurt on the halfway line. There’s a big gap there where players are looking to run into and if [Lovren] goes across there, he nullifies that threat there.

“He doesn’t do that, he decides to take a chance by holding the line, but I just don’t agree with that at all by doing that.

“A player with pace who can back himself against quick players, someone like myself or Van Dijk, would have come across here and gone ‘Right, I’ll race you, I’ll race you to the ball that’s being played down there and I’ll back myself to win that’. A player who’s lacking pace, who’s frightened, will take chances just as Lovren does, and he gets punished.”

Dejan Lovren of Liverpool scores his team's first goal during the UEFA Champions League group E match between Liverpool FC and SSC Napoli at Anfield on November 27, 2019 in Liverpool,...

Stats

According to WhoScored, against Napoli, Lovren - who scored for Liverpool - played one key pass, had a pass accuracy of 97.7%, won four headers, took 94 touches, and made two tackles and two clearances.

Van Dijk took two shots of which one was on target, had a pass accuracy of 93.8%, won five headers, took 105 touches, and made three clearances, according to WhoScored.

Liverpool will need to pick up at least a point in their final group game against RB Salzburg to progress to the last-16 stage of the Champions League this season.

Virgil van Dijk of Liverpool reacts during the UEFA Champions League group E match between Liverpool FC and SSC Napoli at Anfield on November 27, 2019 in Liverpool, United Kingdom.

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