Virgil van Dijk has had to contend with plenty of criticism within England and from his native Netherlands over the past 12 months, but the Liverpool captain has been imperious during the current campaign.
Three years on from his horrendous ACL injury, the 32-year-old is getting back to the dominant levels that he reached so consistently at the turn of the decade when the Reds won the Champions League and then the Premier League.
Statistical specialists WhoScored highlighted one piece of information which sums up the Dutchman’s enduring brilliance and his renaissance from the comparative lows of 2022/23, when he was dribbled past with the joint-highest regularity of his English top-flight career (0.3 per game).
On Monday morning, they posted on X: “Of the 49 centre-backs to have started 5+ matches in the Premier League this season, only Virgil van Dijk is yet to be dribbled past”.
💪 Of the 49 centre-backs to have started 5+ matches in the Premier League this season, only Virgil van Dijk is yet to be dribbled past pic.twitter.com/8B5B1hTNFR
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) November 6, 2023
Van Dijk has played for 748 out of 990 minutes in the Premier League for Liverpool so far this season (Transfermarkt), and had it not been for his red card at Newcastle and subsequent two-game suspension, he’d probably boast an ever-present record.
His virtually guaranteed selection makes it all the more remarkable that he’s made it this far into the campaign without once seeing an opponent gliding past him with the ball.
In one match alone in the 1-1 draw against Luton on Sunday, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Alexis Mac Allister were dribbled past eight times between them (Sofascore). Even allowing for neither of those being a centre-back, it highlights just how brilliantly the Reds captain has done that it hasn’t happened to him once all season.
Van Dijk famously went 50 Premier League games without being beaten in a dribble from March 2018 to August 2019 (talkSPORT), and while it might be asking an awful lot of him to repeat that incredible feat, his current run shows that class truly is permanent.