Reds legend Gary Gillespie, who won three league titles and a European Cup with the club back in the 1980s, says Virgil van Dijk is the best defender he has ever seen.
The current favourite for the Ballon d’Or is quite obviously world-class in the eyes of anyone who has had the pleasure of watching him play for the Reds, but Gillespie has gone one further than that, proclaiming him as being better than anyone else, ever.
Via LiverpoolFC.com, Gillespie said: “Normally it is the players that score the goals [that catch the eye], that dribble and beat people, that create opportunities – I think it speaks volumes that he’s even being talked about as winning the Ballon d’Or, [given] the fact he’s a centre-back.
“For me, he’s the best [defender] I’ve seen, absolutely. He’s outstanding in every department [and] in one-on-one situations, and that’s so key these days, with the way that modern teams play.
“Sometimes you are left in one-on-one situations and you just need to look at his stats last season: not one player dribbled past him. I just think that’s phenomenal.”
Phenomenal it most certainly is – Van Dijk has been a colossus since he arrived from Southampton and is now rightly considered to be a bargain buy, which is quite incredible at £75 million.
When you consider that Harry Maguire is valued at around £15 million more than that now, it goes to show just how well the recruitment team did, not just to identify him, but also to remain adamant that they would be patient when the original deal broke down.
Deals like that Van Dijk one are the exact reason that no matter what happens this summer in terms of incomings, Klopp deserves to be trusted. He’s got it right in the past and he will probably judge it spot on once again.