Sol Campbell has suggested that Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk is becoming complacent.
Van Dijk’s outstanding performances in recent seasons have seen him establish himself as one of the best players in the world.
However, van Dijk was part of the Liverpool side that were thrashed 7-2 by Aston Villa recently.
Former Tottenham and Arsenal defender Campbell suggested that van Dijk may be struggling as he wasn’t tested enough previously.
Campbell told The Athletic: ‘I know Van Dijk struggled in the Villa game, but he stands out these days because he’s head and shoulders above everyone else, which makes me wonder if that is hampering him at the same time.
‘He’s the complete player in that position and has made it look easy, but maybe he’s not been challenged enough and then, like a cricketer being done by a slower ball, he’s come unstuck.’
Van Dijk has enjoyed much success in recent seasons, helping Liverpool to win the Premier League title last campaign after winning the Champions League the previous year.
Campbell believes that the fact van Dijk went largely untroubled for so long has caused him to be more relaxed.
He said: ‘If you’ve not been worrying about forwards troubling you, sometimes you drop your guard a fraction. It’s a natural human thing.
‘Maybe that’s seeped in a bit at Liverpool in general. I’m sure Jurgen Klopp will recognise that and get them back on track.’
Campbell also indicated that van Dijk may not have stood out quite so much in his era, when there were a large amount of high quality centre-backs playing in England.
The likes of Tony Adams John Terry and Campbell himself all played in the same era, and the latter feels that van Dijk may not have been able to match those standards.
Campbell said: ‘It would be interesting to see if Van Dijk would have stood out had he been playing in our time when there were lots of great centre-halves: me, John Terry, Tony Adams, Martin Keown, Jamie Carragher, Kolo Toure, Jaap Stam.’
Van Dijk will hope to help Liverpool bounce back when they face rivals and league leaders Everton away next weekend.