Carragher rejects Liverpool defender Van Dijk's pundit complaints: He's had plenty of pats on the back

Liverpool hero Jamie Carragher says Virgil van Dijk needs to grow a thicker skin.

The disappointment associated with the Napoli Champions League defeat, and criticism that has followed it, has helped shock Liverpool back to life this week, Carragher believes.

“Criticism does spike you,” Carragher told the Daily Mail.

“You saw a huge turnaround in Liverpool’s performance [against Ajax]. Individually, van Dijk was back to his best.”

The Dutchman has hit back at his critics claiming “a lot of ex-football players, who know exactly what we go through, they say a lot to get us down”.

But Carragher feels discussion of performances is part and parcel of the game and players have to be prepared to take the rough with the smooth.

“If he wants to bite back at whoever that might be – I might be one of them or it might be somebody else – but I think Virgil van Dijk has had more pats on the back in the last five years in the Premier League,” he said.

“Maybe only Kevin De Bruyne in terms of classing them as the two best players in the league and in the world in their positions. So, he has done well out of not getting too much criticism in his career. There are people a lot worse off than him.”