Steve McManaman: How Virgil van Dijk needs to help Joel Matip at Liverpool

Liverpool v Everton - The Emirates FA Cup Third Round

It's been just under two weeks since Virgil van Dijk completed a £75 million move to Liverpool yet he's already adored by the club's fans.

On his debut against Everton in the FA Cup last week, the Dutchman gave a taste of what to expect with a commanding performance at Anfield.

He even scored the winning goal in the 84th minute to spend Liverpool through to the fourth round and knock out their Merseyside rivals.

Debuts don't get much better than that, I think you'll agree.

Van Dijk will undoubtedly be Jurgen Klopp's first-choice centre-back going forward - but who will play alongside him?

Joe Gomez, Dejan Lovren, Joel Matip and Ragnar Klavan are all options for the German manager and, on their day, can do a decent job.

They all have their flaws, though, with Gomez's tendency to lose concentration at vital moments rearing its ugly head recently.

As for Lovren and Klavan, the defensive duo are prone to errors and lack the consistency needed to play for Liverpool week in week out.

So that leaves Matip, who joined the Reds in 2016 on a free transfer from Schalke 04 and has been a pretty decent signing.


Matip started alongside Van Dijk in the Everton win but according to Steve McManaman, the Cameroon international also has one major weakness: his communication.

McManaman thinks Matip is too quiet and needs Van Dijk's help alongside him to be his voice.

"He (Van Dijk) looked really composed [against Everton] - it was a hard game to play in because he has only just arrived," said the ex-Liverpool midfielder, per Goal.

"It was a hard game to get involved with and the fact he scored the winner was great. He looks dangerous from set pieces, he had a chance earlier than that.

"There's no better way to be loved by the fans than score the winner in a derby match. He has won half the battle already. Sometimes it can take a while to get into games.


"He is the big main centre-half and Matip is only a quiet lad so he has to be vocal.

"He has come for the price tag that he has come in for, so he has to show he's the star man and that he is the boss. I think he has done that."

Centre-backs are traditionally meant to be some of the loudest players on the football pitch, but not Matip.

Van Dijk, on the other hand, is a born leader and his communication will go some way towards improving Liverpool's leaky defence.

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