Van Dijk Talks Fight: We Need To Actually See It

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Liverpool’s Lacklustre Second-Half Performance Against Atalanta: A Closer Look

In his defence, the fantail has to try and rally his troops. But what he was Ealing here, no one was buying. In the unforgiving arena of European football, a team’s mettle is not only tested by the goals they score but by the spirit they demonstrate when the tide of the game turns against them. The latest display from Liverpool against Atalanta was a far cry from the resilience and fighting spirit that fans have come to expect from the Reds.

Photo: IMAGO

Evidence of a Missing Counter Press

Liverpool’s second-half performance was ostensibly devoid of the high-octane play that’s become their hallmark. This was markedly evident in their Expected Goals (xG) metric, a paltry 0.04 in the second half, mirroring a side bereft of offensive ideas and zeal. There was practically zero counter-press or tempo at the same time, either. Maybe people’s definitions of fight in football are different.

Substitutes Failing to Make an Impact

The fresh legs introduced by Klopp—Nunez at the 62nd minute, Jota at the 73rd, and Elliott at the 84th—were expected to infuse vigour into Liverpool’s gameplay. Instead, their contributions amounted to squandered possessions and unforced errors, failing to tip the scales back in Liverpool’s favour. In fact, the only thing those three players did of note was lose the ball. We can’t include Jayden Danns in any if this type of discussion as it would be unfair.

Van Dijk’s Optimistic Reflections

Despite the underwhelming statistics and the lacklustre pitch performance, Virgil Van Dijk’s post-match comments painted a different picture:

“Today was a good game, great fight. Obviously, we won but it doesn’t feel like it really. Obviously it’s an improvement, but the reality is that we are out and we have to quickly turn this around, recover and travel to London on Saturday.

We need everyone for that last push, and that’s the feeling that I’m getting now.”

While Van Dijk highlighted the urgency and need for unity, the on-pitch dynamics told a story of a team struggling to find its rhythm and fighting spirit.

Photo: IMAGO

Contrast Between Words and Actions

Van Dijk continued to manifest confidence in his statements:

“We tried,” Van Dijk said. “We had some opportunities, but the 2-0 didn’t come. Obviously, there was still time, and maybe, at times, we wanted it too quickly. Everyone was keen to get the second and eventually the third.”

However, the visible disconnect between his words and the team’s actual performance was palpable. With each minute that passed, Liverpool’s play seemed increasingly uninspired, calling into question the ‘fight’ Van Dijk referenced.

Looking Ahead with Optimism

Despite this setback, Van Dijk looks ahead, seeing the remaining games as an opportunity for redemption: “We have to get back up,” the Dutchman said. “We have been through difficult moments all together, and we have done it before as well. Showing maturity, showing togetherness is the key to this, and professionalism, in order to be ready for Sunday.” It’s hard to see that just now.

Liverpool’s campaign continues under a cloud of doubt cast by this performance. Fans and critics alike will watch keenly to see if Liverpool can resurrect the relentless energy that has become synonymous with their style of play. As the season progresses, only time will tell if they can rekindle the flame of persistence and return to form when it matters most. It’s actions rather than words now from the captain and everyone else.

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