Virgil van Dijk has been outstanding since signing for Liverpool as the world’s most expensive defender in January.
He has been instrumental in the Reds’ unbeaten start to the Premier League season and is quickly building a reputation as the most gifted top-flight defender.
There is even a growing argument that he is challenging the likes of Sergio Ramos and Raphaël Varane for recognition as one of the best defenders in the world. Best player, on the other hand? That might be slightly pushing it as this stage.
Speaking after Liverpool’s 1-1 draw with Chelsea, pundit Chris Sutton made the incredible claim that the Dutchman is currently the no.1 player on the planet. Whether there was a light-hearted touch to his statement remains to be seen.
“Virgil van Dijk is the best player in the world,” he said on BT Sport.
“Educated in Scotland…he’s tearing it up isn’t he? It’s what Liverpool needed – a bit of stability.”
Who is the best player in the world RIGHT NOW?
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) September 29, 2018
Whether wide of the mark or not, such rave reviews of Van Dijk magnify the authority and assurance he is playing with right now.
He produced another dominant display at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, shrugging off Chelsea’s aerial threat and expertly thwarting the hosts’ intricate link-up play on the ground.
In holding the fort at the back as Liverpool searched for an equaliser, he notably helped contain one of the current top-performing players in Europe in Eden Hazard.
World’s best might be over the top, but Van Dijk is very quickly becoming Jurgen Klopp’s most important player amid a period when his front three are lacking their usual conviction.