Virgil van Dijk further buried doubts over his world record price-tag for a defender with another outstanding display as Liverpool overcame Crystal Palace at Selhurt Park.
The Dutchman played a formidable role in helping the Reds secure a 2-0 win and back-to-back victories to start the new Premier League season.
Palace striker Christian Benteke proved to be no match for the centre-back, who asserted an uncontested authority from the off on Monday night.
Besides combatting the hosts’ aerial threat in expert fashion, Van Dijk was also a leading advocate of Liverpool’s ball retention and efforts to dictate the tempo of the game.
He also served as a calming presence alongside the superb Joe Gomez, with the pair teasing more glimpses of forming an exciting partnership.
Liverpool’s record signing remained unnerved, untroubled and displayed a level of dominance not seen from a centre-back at the club in a long time.
His performance marked fresh evidence that Jurgen Klopp’s men are far-better equipped to mount a serious title challenge this season.
Here’s what Reds had to say…
That game management from the Redmen though, Van Dijk ridiculously cool, the lad could play in slippers smoking a cigar 👏👏
— Darren Farley (@DFImpressionist) August 20, 2018
Virgil van Dijk by far and away the man of the match tonight. Phenomenal.
— Jack Lusby (@jacklusby_) August 20, 2018
Long, long time since a Liverpool central defender has played with such authority. Virgil Van Dijk was head and shoulders above tonight.
— Dominic King (@DominicKing_DM) August 20, 2018
That might be Virgil van Dijk’s best performance in a Liverpool shirt. No real highlight moment but there was so much to that display — aerial presence, mopping up everything and helping youngsters Joe Gomez and Trent Alexander-Arnold through a difficult game. #LFC
— Glenn Price (@GlennPrice94) August 20, 2018
Van Dijk absolutely immense for #LFC back there tonight and young Gomez getting better and better alongside him.
— James Pearce (@JamesPearceEcho) August 20, 2018
Tonight Virgil van Dijk clearly proved he is the best CB in the Premier League.
— Aadam (@aadambirmingham) August 20, 2018
It’s games like that where you really see the value of a player like Van Dijk. Unbelievably dominant in his battles against Benteke. Gomez also deserves great credit tonight, superb again and deserves to keep his place.
— Joel Rabinowitz (@joel_archie) August 20, 2018
Van Dijk is such a leader at the back. So authoritative and commanding.
— Leanne Prescott (@_lfcleanne) August 20, 2018
Virgil van Dijk plays at that level every game. That performance should come as no surprise to any Liverpool fan or journalist. He’s the best defender in the league & he has transformed this team. He makes the players around him better & is a born leader.
— LFC Round Up (@LFCroundup) August 20, 2018
van Dijk today won 100% of his tackles, had a 92.4% pass accuracy, 91 touches of the ball, successfully played 10 long balls and won 9 aerial duels. One of the best and most complete performances from CB that you will see this season. Deserves to be spoken about amongst the best.
— Dharma Bhagalia (@Kloppholic) August 20, 2018
Those 2 headers Van Dijk won at the end is why he is Liverpool’s most important player. The impact he’s had on our defence is unreal.
— Furious Firmino (@FuriousFirmino) August 20, 2018