In an important clash in the race for the Premier League title, Arsenal regained the lead when a defensive miscommunication between van Dijk and Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson allowed an easy opportunity for Gabriel Martinelli.
Speaking after the game to Sky Sports, Keane was particularly unimpressed by the performance of van Dijk, so long a stalwart in the heart of the Liverpool backline.
Keane said: ‘The intensity from the first whistle to the last from Liverpool, in possession and without, I can’t believe how bad they were.
‘Credit to Arsenal, they turned up, and were at it. Liverpool defensively, the goals they gave away, they were like a pub team defending.’
Virgil van Dijk’s defending was slated by Sky Sports pundits after Liverpool’s defeat to Arsenal
Roy Keane singled out van Dijk, holding him responsible for all three Gunners goals
For the third goal, Leandro Trossard was given plenty of room to attack the Liverpool goal, which led Keane to say ‘Trossard can’t believe his luck here’, adding ‘he’s almost reluctant to shoot’.
He believed that van Dijk should have dived or lunged in to try and ward off the danger, which eventually led to the goal that settled it for the hosts.
Then later on, Keane singled out van Dijk for all three Arsenal strikes. Keane said: ‘I blame him for the three goals. He’s entitled to have a bad game, of course, but to give away three goals in such a big game, you know it’s going to hurt them at the end of the season.’
Former Liverpool legend Carragher concurred with his fellow Sky Sports pundit.
On analysing Arsenal’s second goal, he said: ‘I think it’s a really big mistake that you probably make once a season, and it’s just happened. Van Dijk’s got to head that.’
Alisson also comes under fire, with Carragher believing that the ball should have been headed away from danger.
Carragher said: ‘Don’t complicate it. Don’t let it bounce. I mean, we’re talking schoolboy stuff here. We really are. He’s just got to head that back to Konate.’
Martinelli nudged van Dijk, but was within his rights to do so while challenging for the ball, and whilst Carragher accepts it might have put Alisson off slightly, he has no qualms about claiming Liverpool should have had the basic football knowledge to deal with that situation.
A calamitous mistake from Alisson and van Dijk gifted Arsenal the lead at the Emirates
Carragher said that the two experienced Liverpool players should have known to deal with it
Carragher added: ‘That’s always got a chance of happening if you let the ball bounce. As I said, this is not about playing at the top level, that’s something that you learn at the bottom level of football, as a defender, just deal with it.’
He then defends the exploits of both players over the past half a decade in Liverpool colours, adding: ‘I think that’s why Liverpool are back where they are, because of the performances of those two. But that was a howler.’
Van Dijk took the blame for the error in his post-match interview with Sky Sports, but said that Liverpool have a chance to rectify things next time out, when they host Burnley on Saturday.