Virgil van Dijk has now played 61 Premier League games – 28 of which have been clean sheets – for Liverpool since signing for the club on January 1st, 2018 and along with Brazilian goalkeeper Alisson Becker, has played a key role in the club’s much improved defensive record this season. The Reds have now played 31 PL games, with 17 of those being clean sheets and have only conceded 18 goals.
The Premier League thankfully returns this weekend after the final international break with most of the sides having seven matches to play before season’s end. Van Dijk, who captains the Dutch side, played the full 90 minutes in both Euro 2020 qualifiers, scoring a fantastic header in the 86th minute against Belarus on 21 March and was integral in Holland fighting back against Germany, although the Oranje ultimately lost 3 – 2 on 24 March 2019.
The Dutch colossus is now ready to return to the League and wants Liverpool to tackle their run-in head on and take full advantage of their position at the top of the table, telling Premier League productions this week that the “ultimate thing would be winning something with Liverpool,” which they still have a chance to do thanks in large part to Van Dijk.
And while the defender refuses to take the credit for Liverpool growing from strength to strength over the past two seasons, many would beg to differ with him as he has played an ineffaceable part in steering the side to new heights.
Former Reds goalkeeper Sander Westerveld, who counted Sami Hyypia as a teammate during his successful Anfield career, said recently that his fellow Dutchman reminded him of Sami, and said as much to Liverpoolfc.com:
Sami and Virgil are pretty similar. Look at the way when Sami first came in and straight away, he made a difference. Sami played in Holland before he came to Liverpool and he learned to play with his feet, which is what Virgil can do. All the good things you have about Virgil, Sami had as well, and it gave me confidence as a goalkeeper to have someone like that in front of me. He would never panic, he would take his time - he was everything you want in a defender, which is what we have now and what we had in Sami. I called Alisson the perfect goalkeeper and Virgil is the perfect defender. He has got everything you need, and I hope he can stay at Liverpool for 10 more years.
Meanwhile former Liverpool and Denmark defender Daniel Agger expressed that he too was a fan of VVD while speaking to Liverpoolfc.com after the Liverpool Legends charity match, last weekend saying:
The first thing is, that was what Liverpool needed: a leader, a talented footballer, a strong defender, somebody the players could rely on. I think that’s the biggest difference he has made. He’s obviously a good footballer but he’s also a good character to have in a team, a strong character and a leader. All football teams need leaders, and if you lack them you won’t have the consistency that’s needed in the Premier League. So, it’s been impressive, and I’m definitely a big fan of his.
And so say all of us!
Liverpool take on Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday 31 March 2019 at 4:30PM BST / 11:30AM EDT. Be sure to check your local listings for time and availability in your area as well as back here over the weekend as we bring you all the latest news and team updates leading up to Sunday’s match.