Van Dijk’s performances this season have come under scrutiny due to Liverpool’s inconsistency and he was again under fire when France thrashed the Netherlands last week.


Prominent former Dutch stars such as Ruud Gullit and Marco van Basten have chastised him for not showing enough leadership and not playing well enough at the heart of Liverpool’s defence.



The defender came out fighting this week and insisted that players are not robots and that a dip in form is not unnatural.


Perez also feels Van Dijk is being criticised because he played at such a high level for two years, and every mistake he is making now is getting magnified.



He stressed that the defender is now playing at a more normal level but it was wrong to expect him to maintain those high standards throughout his career.


Perez said on ESPN Netherlands: “He has set the bar so incredibly high that every little flaw is seen as a massive mistake.



“He was fantastic in every game for a period of two years.


“No one came by, he was never injured.


“No one dared touch him because no one had a chance.


“To say that he can’t do any of it anymore and that it is too little….


“He is slightly at a normal level now because he was at such a high level.


“That was the benchmark but no one can say that it can last an entire career.”


Liverpool will hope to see Van Dijk at his best when they take on Manchester City at the Etihad on Saturday.