Rio Ferdinand and Michael Owen agree over Liverpool star who is getting ‘worse and worse’

Pundits Rio Ferdinand and Michael Owen have been discussing Virgil van Dijk’s poor form amid Liverpool’s Champions League exit.

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Rio Ferdinand and Michael Owen have been discussing Virgin van Dijk’s poor form, and whether the Liverpool defender has himself, his teammates or both to blame.

Liverpool failed to mount a comeback in their Champions League clash with Real Madrid on Wednesday night, losing 1-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu, crashing out of the Champions League with a 6-2 defeat overall. It was always going to be a tough task after a heavy defeat at Anfield in the first leg, but Jurgen Klopp’s men couldn’t manage a single goal in their comeback attempt.

Instead, it was Real Madrid who came out on top, with Karim Benzema scoring the winner late on, rubber-stamping the win, if it wasn’t already. The defeat all-but makes it official that Liverpool will not be winning any silverware this season, with Klopp’s men enduring a pretty miserable campaign.

It has also been a rather miserable campaign for many of the Reds stars individually, and that certainly applies to Virgil van Dijk, who has struggled for form throughout this season. Ahead of Liverpool’s clash with Real Madrid, BT Sport pundit Ferdinand spoke about the Dutchman’s form, saying: “I think there are phases in your career where things don’t go to plan. But you look at the great centre-halves in years gone by, John Terry, Jaap Stam, Vidic, Kompany, Sol Campbell...the list goes on.

“I don’t remember those having a season off, or big periods of the season where they had eight or nine games where they were struggling. But the form of the team has an affect on that. That’s the one thing I will say, sometimes you need a team performing around you, and he hasn’t had a team performing around him in a way that would suit his style of play.”

Former Reds striker Owen added: “Especially in this team, because when Liverpool are playing well, they (the defence) don’t really have much to do. When they are pressing from the front, how many times did you see Liverpool winning the ball up the top?

Van Dijk has struggled this seasonVan Dijk has struggled this season
Van Dijk has struggled this season

“But the problem is that they leave themselves exposed, we all know that, so it’s a difficult place and position to play if your team is not playing well. He is getting exposed all the time at the moment, one-v-one. Because he is not dealing with it well, and it’s getting worse and worse and worse. When Liverpool are playing well, you don’t even notice that because he just mops everything up and he rarely gets called upon.”

Liverpool and van Dijk now have a - perhaps much-needed - big gap due to having their clash with Fulham postponed due to the Cottagers’ FA Cup participation. The Reds don’t play again before the international break, facing Manchester City when they return, on April 1. When they do return, the Reds will be hoping to scrap their way back into the top four to ensure Champions League football for next season, while Van Dijk will be desperate to rediscover his form of previous seasons.