Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk hit out at ex-players for trying to “get us down” after the Reds bounced back from a difficult week with a 2-1 win over Ajax in the Champions League.
Jurgen Klopp’s faced stinging criticism in the wake of the 4-1 horror show at Napoli last week, with BT Sport pundits Robbie Fowler and Rio Ferdinand among those to pounce on the Reds.
But after Joel Matip’s late header eased the pain of that defeat, Van Dijk rounded on the pundits who had attacked the team.
When told that the Reds presumably knew how to bounce back from a difficult week, Van Dijk told BT Sport: “Yeah, not listening to the outside world. That’s the most important thing.
“It’s funny sometimes, you know, because there’s a lot of ex-football players and they know exactly what we go through, but they say a lot of things to try and get us down.
“We know exactly that last week was unacceptable. It was very bad and we tried to make it right. This is a step in the right direction, [but] don’t get carried away because we play so many games.”
Speaking immediately after Van Dijk’s comments, BT Sport pundit Ferdinand was asked whether negative observations from former players would get to him.
“If I thought it was wrong or I thought it was personal, then I would get the hump,” he said.
“But if it was deserved, then I would hold my hands up.
“Listen, the performance in Naples, if they were honest every single player would go ‘you know what, it was a bad day at the office and we deserved the criticism we got’.
“We reiterated on the night, we weren’t saying they were a bad team overnight. No one was saying they were bad players overnight. It was a bad performance.”
Van Dijk said it was vitally important to win the game given the upcoming international break.
Liverpool will not play this weekend after their clash with Chelsea was postponed due to policing demands ahead of the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II.
“Coming back from the horror show in Naples, it was very important for us to show a positive reaction,” said the Dutchman.
“It’s not easy to turn it around. But this is a step in the right direction. It was very important to win today and get that good feeling going into the international break.”
While Liverpool have not been at their best this season, it has not been all bad. They equalled the record victory in the Premier League with a 9-0 scalping of Bournemouth in August and also won the Community Shield against Manchester City.
The victory over Ajax carted them above the Dutch leaders into second in Champions League Group A. Rangers host Napoli in the other game in the group on Wednesday.