An angry Virgil van Dijk ordered Rio Ferdinand, Peter Crouch and the rest of the BT Sport punditry team to move backward after they disrupted the Liverpool defender’s pre-match warm-up drill with Joe Gomez ahead of kick-off against Nottingham Forest. The Dutchman was practising headers with his centre-back partner but the space they were working in appeared to be limited by the positioning of the pundits, as they stood on the halfway line to preview the match.
Van Dijk soon made his presence known, waving his hands to order them back as it was seemingly impacting his preparations for the contest.
Most of the BT Sport team – which also included Lynsey Hipgrave and Karen Carney – had their backs to the action, meaning they did not actually know they were causing a slight infringement.
Ferdinand had just said a brief hello to Van Dijk but moments later he picked up on the central defender’s body language and told his colleagues to shift, sensing the £75million star’s frustration.
Van Dijk once again waved his arms to usher the BT Sport team backward and his facial expression suggested he was not best pleased with the antics.
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Yet the former Manchester United centre-back came under fire a little bit earlier in the season when Van Dijk appeared to take offence to strong criticism of Liverpool in the media following the 4-1 Champions League defeat to Napoli.
Van Dijk said after Liverpool responded with a victory over Ajax at Anfield: “We know last week was unacceptable, very bad and we tried to make it right. This is a step in the right direction, don’t get carried away because we played so many games. Now we have to focus on the national teams or the break then crack on.”
To which Ferdinand responded, after being quizzed on the matter by Jake Humphrey: “If I thought it was wrong or personal then I’d get the hump.
“If it was deserved, I’ll hold my hands up and say. But listen, the performance in Naples, if they’re honest every single one of them will say ‘pfft, it was a bad day at the office and we deserved the criticism that we got’. But I think we reiterated on the night, we weren’t saying they became a bad team overnight or bad players, it was a bad performance.”
Liverpool travel to Nottingham Forest on the back of two straight 1-0 victories at Anfield over Manchester City and West Ham.
Van Dijk has been a mainstay at the back for the Reds despite a disappointing start to the campaign that saw his own performances questioned.
Jurgen Klopp’s side were without both Darwin Nunez and Thiago Alcantara for the visit to the City Ground in a double blow for the Reds.
The Uruguayan has a tight hamstring – first felt in the midweek victory over West Ham in which he scored the winner – while Thiago missed out with an ear infection.