Former Liverpool defender Glen Johnson has branded current Reds star Virgil van Dijk as ‘disappointing’ this season.

Van Dijk has again been an automatic starter for Jurgen Klopp’s side this season when fit this term, with the Dutchman missing seven games through injury between January and February.

The Reds have kept three clean sheets in three Premier League games since the influential defender’s return. However, he was part of the defence that conceded five goals to Real Madrid in the Champions League last month.

Van Dijk admitted earlier this week that he has played too many games since his return from an ACL injury in 2021, which ‘caught up’ with him.

He said (quotes via Daily Mirror): “Coming back from the knee injury, I played all the Premier League games, because I want to be out there.

“But what caught up is that I played too many games at a time. When it’s game day, I want to play, I’ll do everything possible to play. Patience is not in my vocabulary, it’s not in my system.

“But it caught up with me unfortunately, my body, I’m not a robot.”

And in a recent interview, Johnson picked out Van Dijk as a player that has disappointed him this season – although only in the context of the Dutchman’s incredible performances in previous campaigns.

Liverpool star Van Dijk branded ‘disappointing’

Speaking in an interview with ICE 36, Johnson said: “Virgil van Dijk has been disappointing, but that has more to do with how good we know he is, and how highly he has performed for Liverpool since joining the club.

“His playing standard has been set so high, and at the moment he doesn’t look anywhere near it.

“We know how he plays. Super calm, relaxed and very casual, which is great but when he isn’t playing well that style can look awful.

“It sounds negative, but it is more of a compliment to him because over the last few seasons he has set the bar so high with his performances.

“When he plays at his best he makes the game look so bloody easy, and when he isn’t you know how capable he is so it can be frustrating.”

Van Dijk will hope to help his side take another step towards Champions League qualification for next season with a win against Manchester United at Anfield on Sunday.