Jurgen Klopp has admitted that his central defender Virgil van Dijk is even better than he thought after a string of top-class performances.
Some players are elevated to a different level when they are put into a better side – and Van Dijk, like the likes of Sadio Mane and Gini Wijnaldum, falls into that bracket.
Klopp was speaking on Sky Sports after watching his side, guided by Van Dijk, overcome the significant threat of Wolves to cement top spot in the Premier League on Christmas Day.
The boss said: “Together with all the boys around he is much better.
“This afternoon, I had time being in the hotel. I watched on YouTube – that’s the game when Liverpool pretty much wanted Sadio Mane.
“He [Van Dijk] played in that game and we had one philosophy. 3-2 [to Southampton] after being 2-0 up – I couldn’t remember that he played that game.
“It was not that he was outstanding all the time, he had to improve and he’s still improving. He’s an outstanding player.”
Klopp obviously liked him enough to warrant spending £75 million to prise him away from Southampton, but that price now appears to be a bargain.
Van Dijk could be the difference in the title race this season – he has been that good.
He should also be talked about as a candidate for the PFA Player of the Year, won by Mo Salah last season, but of course, trophies are more important than individual accolades at the end of the season.