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Jamie Carragher defends Virgil van Dijk amid “tribal” Nemanja Vidic comparisons

A rare tough spell for Virgil van Dijk has sparked comparisons with Nemanja Vidic, with the likes of Jamie Carragher and Rio Ferdinand having their say.

The Netherlands captain has been the subject of criticism in recent weeks in what has been a difficult period for Liverpool defensively.

Predictably, Carragher went in to bat for Van Dijk in response to a tweet which questioned his status as an all-time Premier League great.

The former Reds defender conceded that Vidic was a “top” centre-back in his own right, but that Van Dijk’s impact on Liverpool makes him the superior player.

Carragher cited Vidic’s performances against Fernando Torres to demonstrate that all top centre-backs have difficult moments in their careers, with the Spaniard particularly devastating during a 4-1 win at Old Trafford in 2009.

Ferdinand also gave his opinion by replying to Carragher with a video discussing what he described as a “myth” regarding Vidic’s struggles against Torres.

“I think Torres scored three goals in 15 games against Vidic, I think it’s a bit of a myth,” insisted Ferdinand.

“He had a couple of dodgy moments in those games and he got sent off a couple of times, but that’s kind of been amplified into saying he got tortured every time he played against Torres which wasn’t the case.”

It is a discussion which supporters have gladly sunk their teeth into, with plenty offering their thoughts on the comparisons and many leaping to the defence of the Reds’ talismanic centre-back.

Several supporters have pointed to the “tribalism” at the heart of the criticism towards Van Dijk, who has been described as a “colossus” and “one of the Premier League‘s greatest centre-backs” by Liverpool fans:

The debate is unlikely to ever reach a full conclusion, but Ferdinand and Carragher are perhaps two of the most highly-qualified people who could offer their takes.

The pair made 1,012 Premier League appearances between them and are also widely regarded as two of the best defenders the Premier League has produced.