It’s to the credit of Jurgen Klopp and his staff that the current Liverpool side is filled with world-class options from top to bottom.
When it comes to the backline, however, Martin Keown is a big believer in the attributes of Virgil van Dijk, backing the Dutchman over other Premier League defenders ‘nine times out of ten’.
“I think that Van Dijk is the one that stands out because of his pace and his passing is ridiculous at times,” the former Gunners star told the Seaman Says Podcast (via the Echo).
“He plays on the left, but you never see him in trouble on his left foot, he brings it onto his right and pings those balls; he’s quick one vs one, his pace is good and, sometimes, I think he doesn’t get the limelight.
“If I was playing alongside him, I’d think he doesn’t know when to hold, when to squeeze and when to drop off.
“Sometimes he’s detached from the rest of the group, but nine times out of ten, he’s the best defender in the Premier League. He’s a Rolls Royce, he just purrs across the ground.”
The No.4 has been a revelation for the Reds since switching in a big-money move from Southampton, with the signing of the centre-half combined with that of Alisson Becker from Roma utterly transforming the defence.
Given how fragile we looked at times last term without the talismanic Dutch international coordinating the back four, his importance to us was evident for all to see.
As such, the signing of Ibrahima Konate, a defender with traits deemed similar to the 30-year-old, couldn’t have made more perfect sense to safeguard the future of the defence – a future that would have looked particularly bleak without him around.
There’ll be plenty years left in the tank before Van Dijk does it call it a day in the famous red shirt, of course, and we’ll be looking forward to seeing what else he can achieve in this side.