Virgil van Dijk had an incredibly rare off day during Liverpool’s 2-1 defeat at Arsenal on Wednesday night.
The Reds dropped points for the third time since becoming Premier League champions and can no longer surpass the 100 points that Manchester City posted during the 2017/18 campaign.
On paper, it would seem as though the defeat in north London wasn’t as bad as the 3-0 humiliation at Watford or 4-0 thrashing by City themselves when you look at the score-lines alone.
Arsenal 2-1 Liverpool
But it was the nature of the loss at Arsenal that marked it out as different from the others and it was the uncharacteristic manner of the defensive errors that really stood out.
Alisson Becker, arguably the world’s best goalkeeper, botched a pass to Andrew Robertson that was intercepted by Alexandre Lacazette and ultimately led to Reiss Nelson’s winner.
However, the tone for defensive howlers had already been set 12 minutes earlier when Van Dijk bungled a pass across his own penalty area that – you guessed it – fell right to Laczaette.
Van Dijk’s major error vs Arsenal
Van Dijk bizarrely raised his arms in confusion as though Fabinho or Alisson could have done something about it, but neither could intervene as Lacazette rounded the ‘keeper to score.
It certainly wasn’t a good look for Van Dijk in a week where he’s been favourably compared to Manchester United captain Harry Maguire, who replaced him as the most expensive defender in history.
We all know that Liverpool and United fans like to go back and forth on various debates with Van Dijk often being contrasted to Nemanja Vidic and less frequently Maguire.
But although nobody is pretending that Maguire has had a better season than Van Dijk, some interesting stats have emerged off the back of his night to forget in north London.
WhoScored.com match ratings
In fact, the Dutchman’s display was so poor that it saw him post a season-low match rating of 5.71, which is calculated by over 20 performance-indicating data sets on WhoScored.com.
But how does that compare to Maguire? Well, it’s actually a worse performance than anything we’ve seen from the United man in 2019/20.
Interestingly, Maguire’s lowest rating of the campaign just happened to come this week, too, during the Southampton draw, but his statistical result of 6.28 is far, far higher than Van Dijk’s.
Comparing Premier League stats
You might also be surprised to see that Maguire and Van Dijk’s Premier League statistics are reasonably close.
The competition’s official statistics even show that Van Dijk has now made more errors leading to goals (1) – yes, that is the Arsenal gaffe – than Maguire has in his league career at United (0).
Maguire has also made more blocks, interceptions, headed clearances and tackles this season, though Van Dijk leads the way in terms of aerial battles won, last-man tackles and clean sheets.
GIVEMESPORT’s Kobe Tong says
Does this mean Maguire is better than Van Dijk? Of course not. It just interestingly points out that the Liverpool man had a bigger nightmare last night than his United rival has had all season.
In my eyes, Van Dijk is the best defender in the world and although I’ll happily opine that he was better last season, going from ‘insane’ to ‘great’ is hardly anything in the way of criticism.
But it goes to show that this Liverpool team is human and they shouldn’t have so much hubris as to not spend any money this summer, unless their back accounts literally make it unfeasible.
As for the Van Dijk vs Maguire debate, the winner is – of course – pretty darn obvious, but let’s put more respect on the United man than to consider it some sort of joke to even compare them.
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