Toure identifies weakness in 'unbelievable' Liverpool defender Van Dijk

Oleh Ryan Benson 3 Ogos 2020 267
Toure identifies weakness in 'unbelievable' Liverpool defender Van Dijk

Virgil van Dijk has proven himself to be "unbelievable" in almost every aspect since joining Liverpool, but former Reds defender Kolo Toure thinks forwards can cause him more problems by running at him in one-on-one situations.

Netherlands international Van Dijk joined Liverpool from Southampton in January 2018 for a reported £75million, at the time a world-record fee for a defender.

His signing helped transform Liverpool from top-four contenders into a team that challenges for titles, as the Reds were only narrowly beaten to the 2018-19 Premier League title while also winning the Champions League.

Van Dijk's influence showed no sign of abating this term as Liverpool won a first league title in 30 years, while his performances continue to impress.

Toure, a former Liverpool and Celtic defender like Van Dijk, is an admirer of the centre-back but feels forwards might have a little more fortune against him if they are braver.

"He's an unbelievable player," Toure told Stats Perform News. "He's a top player. He's got speed, height - he can jump. He's got technique. He can switch the game with his long passes. He has got everything.

"I haven't seen many players challenge him one on one. In my opinion, that's his weakness! He's really tall and if you really attack him with the ball, he can struggle, but he's so clever.

"He's so clever because he drops well. But if you are really aggressive in attack in a one-on-one, I think you can get something from him.

"He's a really clever player. He's got [Joe] Gomez on his side, good players on his side to help him as well. There are good players around him and I think that makes his game easy. But I think he's got so many qualities."

Toure was part of the Liverpool team that were pipped to the title by Manchester City in 2013-14, losing out by two points after Steven Gerrard's infamous slip in a 2-0 defeat to Chelsea helped hand the initiative back to Manuel Pellegrini's men.

That gutting moment had hung over Liverpool and Gerrard in the intervening years, but their 2019-20 success erases that memory, according to Toure.

"Absolutely [it heals the pain of 2014]," he said. "When you play for a team like Liverpool… the fans, the atmosphere is unbelievable. An unbelievable club.

"I had a great time there. I saw players win the Premier League who I'd been playing with. I was happy to see them win.

"They are the best team in the world right now. Jurgen Klopp is doing an amazing job right now. [Former manager] Brendan Rodgers' signings have been really good as well for him. You can see that he's taken those players and really pushed them.

"Of course, he's added top players on top of all of that. This club is one of the best clubs in the world. They really deserve everything, they're really good guys, honest people working hard, loving the club and that's great. It's a great, great club."

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Ryan Benson

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