Football News

‘We have become blinded’ — Rafael van der Vaart ruthlessly labels three Liverpool players “very mediocre”

By Ben Green

Published: 15:21, 13 September 2022

Former Tottenham playmaker Rafael van der Vaart has savagely called out three Liverpool players after their capitulation against Napoli.

The Reds were ruthlessly exposed in Campania last week as Luciano Spalletti’s men ran riot in a 4-1 triumph, bludgeoning a side that were only in the Champions League final just a few months back. It was a chastening and sobering experience for Jurgen Klopp.

With football in England postponed over the weekend, Liverpool return to action on Tuesday night for the first time since that mauling in south-western Italy. Klopp’s resolve and mental fortitude will be tested to the full capacity as he looks to rouse a deflated squad.

They take on Ajax in their second Group A match, with the Amsterdammers currently leading the early charge. Alfred Schreuder’s men enjoyed a 4-0 win over Rangers last week to consolidate first — and former midfielder Van der Vaart doesn’t think his old side should have anything to fear this week.

He told Dutch programme Rondo: “I think we have become a bit blinded. We suddenly think Jordan Henderson is a crazy player. That’s just a very normal player.

“James Milner is also a very normal player. Joe Gomez is also a very normal player.

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“Virgil van Dijk is top, the right back and left back are also good. But if things don’t go well and those attackers don’t have their day, then I think it’s just a very mediocre team.”

While Liverpool take on Ajax at Anfield, in the other Group A match, Rangers welcome Napoli to Ibrox looking to bounce back from their own European demise last week. Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s Gers collapsed in Amsterdam and will need a result here before they play Liverpool next. Both sides meet in Merseyside on October 4.

For Liverpool’s Premier League schedule, their match against Chelsea this weekend has also been postponed. The Reds next play a domestic league game against Brighton at the start of next month.