Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher has questioned record-signing Virgil van Dijk's fitness, insisting the centre-back may need to lose weight before reaching his full potential at Anfield.
The 26-year-old, who swapped Southampton for the Reds last month in a move worth around £75m, has been hampered through niggling injuries since arriving on Merseyside, making just three appearances of a possible five.
The Netherlands international made the switch from the south coast to the north west last summer following months of speculation. However, following an altercation between the two clubs over Liverpool's approach meant no move was done during the summer window.
Gary Neville: “I look at Sturridge. People are saying ‘Sturridge isn’t playing anymore, it’s not a big loss’. Firmino gets injured for two months. Liverpool are in the Champions League and are trying to get into the top four… Danny Ings and Solanke.”— Oliver Bond (@Oliver__Bond) February 2, 2018
However, during that time Van Dijk was seemingly cast aside by boss Mauricio Pellegrino after going on strike, forced to train with the reserves when fit and missing out on any pre-season minutes, which came following a major injury which ruled him out for much of last season.
It seems that this combination of factors which sidelined the player may have proved detrimental to his impact since joining Liverpool and Carragher believes there is one major factor holding him back from his full potential; his weight.
"I think it will prove to be a great signing, but he hasn’t hit the ground running", the former centre-back told Sky Sports' The Debate Show, as quoted by The Mirror.
"I think he needs to get fit and lose a bit of weight. He actually looks too big. Maybe that’s to do with not having a pre-season."
After being benched during his new side's comprehensive 3-0 win over Huddersfield Town in midweek, it is not yet known whether Van Dijk will return to boss Jurgen Klopp's starting lin when the Reds welcome Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.