- Leicester City boss Claude Puel has labelled Virgil van Dijk the best defender in Europe
- Puel worked with Dutchman during time at Southampton
- Van Dijk recently linked with Liverpool again having failed to secure summer Anfield switch
- SEE MORE: Liverpool receive huge boost ahead of Southampton clash
January could see Liverpool sign the best defender in Europe in the form of Virgil van Dijk.
That would be the view of Claude Puel, anyway, with the Leicester City boss hailing the Dutchman as arguably the most accomplished player in his position.
Van Dijk enjoyed his most productive season during Puel’s year in charge of Southampton, attracting the interest of Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea in the process.
Reflecting on costly fitness issues during his time at St Mary’s, Puel told L’Equipe, as cited by Sport Witness: “We had injuries, like (Charlie) Austin or (Virgil) Van Dijk, who is probably the best defender in Europe, today.”
Liverpool themselves were at fault for their failure to acquire Van Dijk in the summer, with secret meetings between Klopp and the former Celtic man triggering Southampton to lodge a complaint against alleged ‘tapping up’.
Club president Mike Gordon has since, however, been working with Saints chairman Ralph Krueger to reestablish relations in the hope of making an official approach for Van Dijk in January.
The winter transfer windows marks an opportunity for the Reds to finally strengthen their defensive options and make amends for failing to address a priority need ahead of the new Premier League season.
Saturday’s clash between the two clubs could serve as a useful insight into where Van Dijk now is in terms of form.