Scott Minto urges Jurgen Klopp to drop Virgil van Dijk if the Liverpool star is not fit after he ‘gave it up’ against Bournemouth. Dango Ouattara took advantage for Philip Billing’s goal.
Billing gave the Cherries the lead 28 minutes into Saturday’s Premier League fixture on the south coast. Ouattara charged in behind the Liverpool defence as Bournemouth capitalised on the Reds’ high backline. A simple ball over the top left the forward with space to attack.
A VAR check clarified that Ouattara had timed his run to perfection after Van Dijk failed to track the attacker. Ibrahima Konate played the 20-year-old onside before he cut a cross to Billing in the six-yard area. The midfielder raced into the box to sidefoot his attempt home.
Minto slams Van Dijk for the Liverpool star’s role in Billing’s goal
Van Dijk astounded Minto after not running back with Ouattara as Bournemouth took the lead against Liverpool through Billing’s goal. The former Chelsea defender felt as if the 31-year-old had thrown in the towel and may not be in a state to start under Klopp right now.
“The pace of Ouattara in behind, it’s a high line and a simple ball over the top,” Minto told talkSPORT (11/3, 13:00). “I don’t know what Van Dijk was doing. It looked like he gave it up there. I really don’t know what Van Dijk was doing.
“He didn’t seem to stay with Ouattara at all. Of course, he’s a key member of the squad and one of the best centre-backs in world football. But he has been complaining about fitness and the schedule. If he’s not right, rest him! That’s what a big squad is for.”
Van Dijk made his 30th appearance of the season at Bournemouth
Klopp afforded Van Dijk his 30th appearance of the season so far as Liverpool travelled to Bournemouth on Saturday. He has featured in 22 of the Reds’ 26 Premier League fixtures. The Netherlands star has also played every minute of their seven Champions League ties.
Van Dijk missed three Premier League games over January and February with a hamstring injury. Klopp would even only name the defender as an unused substitute on his return to their matchday squad for the Merseyside derby against Everton, which the Reds won 2-0.
But Van Dijk maintained his instrumental presence as Liverpool visited Bournemouth, only for Ouattara to feed Billing from his mistake. The centre-half also told The Telegraph at the start of March that he should have taken a break before and after the World Cup in Qatar.
He admitted: “Coming back from the knee injury, I played all the Premier League games because everybody wants to be out there and I want to be out there.
“What caught up is that I played too many games at a time. When it’s game day, I want to play and I’ll do everything possible to play. But I could have also thought before the World Cup: ‘Let’s rest a little bit in order to be ready’.”