Ferdinand criticises Virgil van Dijk and Ibrahima Konate after Liverpool loss
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Ferdinand criticises Virgil van Dijk and Ibrahima Konate after Liverpool loss

Rio Ferdinand has suggested that he was left baffled by Virgil van Dijk and Ibrahima Konate in the build-up to the goal Liverpool conceded which all-but-confirmed their Champions League exit at the hands of Real Madrid on Wednesday – in comments to BT Sport (broadcast on 15/3; 22:08).

It proved to be a disappointing night for Jurgen Klopp’s side. Liverpool needed to overturn a three-goal deficit at the Bernabeu. And it became apparent quite quickly that this was not going to be one of those famous European nights involving the Reds.

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The writing looked to be on the wall for a while. But the final blow came 12 minutes from time, with Karim Benzema scoring the only goal on the night.

Ferdinand criticises van Dijk and Konate

It was a little too easy for Los Blancos. A ball from Eduardo Camavinga was able to find Benzema on the edge of the box. And that eventually led to Vinicius Junior setting the Frenchman up for a tap-in into an empty net.

Photo by Mateo Villalba/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

It was scruffy once the ball got to Benzema 18 yards out. But Ferdinand was not happy with the space both van Dijk and Konate initially left the striker in, with neither particularly close to the Real star or each other.

“That distance between one centre-back to the other at this stage with, by the way, one of the most deadliest, lethal strikers on the planet in this position, with the midfielder actually facing play as well, I’m baffled as to why one of those centre-backs doesn’t go: ‘right, I’m going to go attach myself straight onto him, I’m going to mark him’, and the other one can cover or get in front,” he told BT Sport.

Ultimately, the mistake has not cost Liverpool an awful lot. It was going to take something simply unbelievable to set up a tense finish, let alone actually send the tie into extra-time.

But the worry is that the defence is making errors quite often this season. The likes of van Dijk and Trent Alexander-Arnold did not cover themselves in glory for Bournemouth’s winner at the weekend.

It has been a while since van Dijk really looked to be somewhere near his best over a consistent period. And that is a problem Klopp really does not need with a few other issues to address.

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