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17-Sep-2020, 06:40 pm

‘Van Dijk still one of the best despite shaky showing’ – Barnes not expecting Liverpool to land another centre-half

Patrick Bamford Virgil Van Dijk Leeds Liverpool 2020-21

Virgil van Dijk is “still one of the best centre-backs in the world” and one “shaky performance” against Leeds is not about to tarnish that reputation or force Liverpool to seek out further defensive reinforcements, says John Barnes.

Uncharacteristic errors allowed Leeds to remain in the game against the defending champions, with only the heroics of hat-trick star Mohamed Salah edging Jurgen Klopp’s side to a 4-3 win.

Van Dijk faced accusations of becoming arrogant in the wake of an uninspiring showing, with the Dutchman having been a model of consistency throughout his time at Anfield.

Barnes believes too much is being made of a rare off day, with Liverpool still boasting a centre-half on their books who slots seamlessly into the global elite.

The former Reds star told BonusCodeBets: “It wasashakyperformance from Virgil, but that the first shakygamehe’s had withLiverpool,so Iwouldn’tread too much into that.

“Obviously,it’s not ideal when you concedethreegoals, but it’s a one off.I can’t seeLiverpool’sdefencebeing weak for therest of the season.

“Opening Premier Leaguegamesalwayssee someinteresting results andperformances, so Iwon'treadtoo much into that at all.He’s still one of the bestcentre-backs in the world.”

Pressed further on whether Liverpool may be tempted to dip into the transfer market for another centre-half, with added competition for places helping to keep everyone on their toes, Barnes added: “There’s no need to panic.

“WithDejan Lovrenleaving,they might want another defender,possibly.

“However, withthe same team that we had last year,we’re 25 points better than anybody else. So, I don’t know why people have doubtsaboutourperformance this season.

“Obviously Jurgen Klopp will be looking at trying to refresh the squad, but I don’t think Liverpool’s season will depend on them getting anothercentre-back.”

Liverpool swept to a record-setting title triumph in 2019-20, their first in 30 years, and Barnes believes they will remain the team to beat this term despite facing some early questions.

He said: “There’s no complacency whatsoever.Jurgen Klopp has his team playing with determination, effort and commitment. It wasn’t great defendingat times against Leeds,but there wasn’tanycomplacency.

“Leeds are a goodanddangerous team.They’llget resultsin the Premier Leaguebecause teams will attack them, whereas in theChampionship,teamswere more likely todefend in numbers againstLeeds.Teams wouldn’tattackand leave spacefor Leeds to get in behind.

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