Nemanja Vidic claims he would not trade any current Manchester United defender for Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk as the two sides prepare to meet at Old Trafford this Sunday.
The Dutchman returns to action this weekend having been suspended for the Reds’ Champions League Round of 16 first leg against Bayern Munich on Tuesday.
He looks set to play a defining role in helping to shutout a reinvigorated Manchester United attack, spearheaded by the likes of Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford.
Van Dijk has proven to be a vital component to Liverpool’s Premier League title challenge thus far, imposing the defensive stability and assurance that had been missing under Jurgen Klopp in previous campaigns.
Despite his impact, former United defender Vidic insists he would still favour Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s current options at the back.
Speaking to Omnisport, he said: “He [Lindelof] has some quality definitely. He has done really well. I think Phil Jones did well in the recent games he played, Chris Smalling is a good defender, [Eric] Bailly as well.”
“Overall, I said even before when they didn’t have great games, if you look at the other teams, I would not have any defenders of Liverpool or Chelsea, I don’t think they have better defenders than we have.”
On Van Dijk, he added: “He’s a great defender, top defender, but I’m saying when teams are doing well, everyone gets recognition.”
Regardless of United’s drastically improved form, it’s an enormous stretch to even suggest there is any centre-back in world football currently performing as well and having the same influence as Van Dijk.
Sunday awaits as an opportunity for Liverpool to once again underline their title credentials with a huge statement against the biggest and most famous of rivals.
It’s increasingly important Klopp’s men begin to revert to their early season habit of capitalising on decisive goal scoring opportunities and picking up regular clean sheets.
The Reds have shut out opponents on only two occasions in the league since the turn of the year, with injuries having admittedly been a major disruption to their set up at the back.
A fresh-legged Van Dijk is sure to help the cause.