Van Dijk slams Man Utd’s caution after Liverpool draw
LIVERPOOL, United Kingdom (AFP) — Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk slammed Manchester United’s defensive approach as he claimed there was “only one team trying to win” Sunday’s 0-0 draw at Anfield.
Van Dijk was frustrated that struggling United opted for a cautious game plan that left little room for Liverpool to exploit.
Liverpool’s failure to break down United’s massed defence cost them the top spot in the Premier League as Arsenal took pole position following their win over Brighton.
Taking a swipe at United’s negative performance, which allowed Liverpool to have 34 shots but only eight on target, Van Dijk said: “If you see how we played the game, we had most of the ball and created some opportunities. There was only one team trying to win the game.
“We want to win every game, of course, and that is why it is frustrating. Sometimes we shot too easy and could have passed on the overlap. The right decision was sometimes lacking.”
Van Dijk, who had a first-half header saved by Andre Onana, conceded he could understand why United were content to subdue Liverpool after such a difficult season, in contrast to the Reds’ fine form.
Urging Liverpool to learn from their failure to kill off United, Van Dijk said: “We carry on, of course, but it is frustrating because we were superior in all aspects.
“In the end they are buzzing with a point and we are disappointed with a point.
“Obviously they are not in the best phase. Coming here, you are wary of the threat we have. We should have won it today. We have to learn from certain situations, and I know we will.”
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp insisted his side had been even more dominant than in their 7-0 demolition of United last season.
But the German admitted Liverpool had let themselves down by hurrying their attacks in key moments.
“I saw a lot of good things [but] the one thing I don’t like is the result. We should have scored. We were in a rush in moments,” he said.
“Our counter-pressing was good as a group, and we didn’t let them out. I can’t remember such a dominant performance against Man United — even the 7-0.
“Now [that] it’s 0-0 they probably feel slightly better than us, but we take the point and keep going.”
Unlike Van Dijk, Klopp was not surprised by United’s refusal to attack in numbers.
“It was the type of game I expected. If we play like this it is difficult for the opposite team to get out of their own half — and the way United defending was clean, with a lot of passion,” he said.
“We tried everything, and the numbers we created — in terms of shots — is crazy, but with that amount of shots there should be a few more on target. That was our fault today and we go from here.”
•Arsenal 2, Brighton 0
•Brentford 1, Aston Villa 2
•West Ham 3, Wolves 0
•Liverpool 0, Man United 0