The north London side secured a significant win at the Emirates in the Premier League title race on Sunday. They capitalized on several opportunities before breaking the deadlock in the 14th minute through Bukayo Saka. Martin Odegaard’s attempt was parried by Alisson Becker, only for Saka to pounce on the rebound and give Arsenal the lead.
Roy Keane criticized Van Dijk, who failed to intercept Odegaard’s pass and left space for Kai Havertz. Keane remarked (via Mirror):
“If you’re going to press high, you need to make contact with the ball or execute a tackle. He finds himself caught out of position, which is really poor defending from an experienced player. He shouldn’t be committing such errors; he needs to track back more diligently.”
Liverpool managed to pull one back just before halftime, with poor defending from William Saliba leading to an own goal by Gabriel Magalhaes. However, Arsenal regained the lead in the second half due to another lapse from Van Dijk.
The Dutch defender allowed a long ball to bounce over him, and despite Alisson’s error, it fell to Gabriel Martinelli, who capitalized on an open net in the 67th minute.
Keane criticized Van Dijk for the goal, stating:
“Credit to Martinelli for his persistence and effort in turning a poor pass into a good opportunity. He chased it down and created uncertainty. Defenders are overcomplicating things for themselves. Simply clear the ball! He’s been careless with his passing throughout the game. We appreciate players being relaxed, but stay alert! Sense the danger, clear the ball! When in doubt, just clear it. He’s a physically imposing player; he should just get rid of it!”
Finally, Keane condemned the Liverpool captain for Arsenal’s third goal, scored in the second minute of stoppage time. Leandro Trossard received the ball and took a shot, which deflected off Van Dijk and squeezed through Alisson’s legs into the net.
“Trossard must have been surprised when he found himself on the wing, expecting someone to close him down, but they didn’t! He hesitated to shoot! Look at Van Dijk; he should have sensed the danger.” “Is he too hesitant to make a tackle? Well, it’s too late for him at that point, given that they’ve conceded three goals.
It’s acceptable for him to have an off day, of course, but conceding three goals in such a crucial match will cost him.”
Liverpool’s disappointing performance against Arsenal was compounded by a late red card for Ibrahima Konate, who received his second yellow card in the 88th minute.