Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has hit out at defender Virgil van Dijk for Liverpool’s loss to Barcelona in the first-leg semifinal of the UEFA Champions League at the Camp Nou, for allowing Luis Suarez score the opener.
Arsene Wenger has claimed that Virgil van Dijk was at fault for Barcelona’s opening goal at the Nou Camp on Wednesday night. The former Arsenal manager has pointed the blame at this season’s PFA Players’ Player of the Year after he allowed Luis Suarez through to score in the first half.
"van Dijk covers but he should go with Suarez to cover that goal!"
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As Jordi Alba sent in a defence-splitting cross, Suarez timed his run perfectly to nip in and steer it past Alisson in the Liverpool goal – but Wenger insists Van Dijk should have done more.
“When they go in the final third, they are quality Barcelona. You’ve seen the goal – one chance, one goal. It is very interesting because Van Dijk covers but he should go with Suarez to cover that ball. Especially from a central defender with that quality, he lets him go. From the start, his position is not bad but he refuses to respond,” Wenger told beINsports during the half-time break.
The Frenchman was full of praise for Alba’s cross that made the opener, however. “It’s a great goal because the cross is fantastic. The keeper cannot come (to collect the cross) and the ball is between the defender and the goalkeeper, so it’s marvellous,” he continued.
Lionel Messi doubled his side’s lead in the second half to give Barcelona full control in the first leg before he scored a fabulous free kick to make it 3-0 with eight minutes of normal time left on the clock.