Van Dijk’s brilliance summed up by startling stat which emerged from Man United’s Monday debacle

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Liverpool fans are well accustomed to the brilliance of Virgil van Dijk, having watched him excel at the heart of our defence ever since his arrival from Southampton in January 2018.

Even still, there can be a danger of us taking the Reds captain for granted, and the levels at which he’s operating were laid bare by one incredible statistic which emerged on Monday night.

At half-time during Manchester United’s eventual 4-0 thrashing by Crystal Palace, Squawka Live shared an astounding fact on X which contextualised how imperious the Dutchman is, and how bad a game one Red Devils player endured at Selhurst Park.

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They posted: “Casemiro was dribbled past four times in the first half against Crystal Palace, twice as many times as Virgil van Dijk has been dribbled past in 2,998 minutes of Premier League football this season (2).”

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It was extraordinary to see a man who starred in five Champions League triumphs for Real Madrid – two of which came at our expense in a final – endure such a torrid night against Palace, with the Brazilian ultimately being dribbled past seven times (Sofascore).

Jamie Carragher was quite scathing in his assessment of the 32-year-old’s display on Sky Sports, and it’s safe to say that many Liverpool fans will indulge in schadenfraude over the travails of their arch-rivals.

As damning as that statistic is for Casemiro, though, it also highlights the stratospheric levels at which Van Dijk is operating.

To be dribbled past just once for every 1,500 minutes on the pitch – that’s almost 17 full matches – is remarkable for a centre-back, and it’s not even his best-ever sequence in that regard. From March 2018 to August 2019, he famously went 50 Premier League games without once being beaten in a dribble (talkSPORT).

Such consistent brilliance outlines why Liverpool chiefs are rightly eager to sort out a contract extension for the club captain as soon as the current campaign is over, with the Dutchman’s current deal rapidly approaching its final year. He simply can’t be allowed to walk out the door any time in the foreseeable future.

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