Former Liverpool centre-back Sami Hyypia has named Virgil van Dijk as the player who will be the ‘final piece of the puzzle’ for the Reds as they chase a first league title of the Premier League era.
Hyypia says Van Dijk is like a captain even though Jordan Henderson and James Milner are the official captain and vice-captain respectively.
He told the Daily Mirror: “He’s not got the armband, but he has all the attributes of a leader. You don’t need the armband to be a leader or an important character on the field or in the dressing room.
“We needed a leader and, when Virgil arrived, he filled that void. In my opinion, Henderson and Milner are a good captain and vice-captain, but it’s not enough to just have two – you need maybe four or five.
“Virgil was a good addition to that and he took the weight off the other two captains. For me, he’s the last piece of the puzzle in the search for the first Premier League title.”
Time will tell as to whether the Reds win the Premier League this season. Eight points clear after eight matches of the campaign, many will expect them to get the job done, but there is a long way to go yet.
Hyypia is correct in that if the Reds do go on to win the league, Van Dijk will have been crucial. Later this year, he is among the favourites to win the Ballon d’Or, a rare achievement for a defender.
Since signing from Southampton, the fee of £75 million has been made to look smaller and smaller, which is testament to the levels he has reached as a Liverpool player so far.