Watch him defend as Liverpool earn another clean sheet. And watch him score as he grabs the winner. And all done calm as you like.
It’s all in a day’s work for Virgil van Dijk, aka the best centre half in the world, and fresh of another round of heroics—this time against fallen rivals Manchester United—teammate Joe Gomez was singing his praises.
“I’m buzzing for Virg,” Gomez told the club’s official website this week. “Everyone knows how happy I am when he scores and it’s nice for us to put work in in training on those set-pieces and then they come off.
“I don’t think it’s easy to measure what he does for us as a team. He’s such a dominant character, a dominant player. He’s a special player and we’re lucky to have him.”
Any club would count themselves lucky to have him. Liverpool, though, were fortunate to have Jürgen Klopp, and Jürgen Klopp had a plan. A plan for success with Liverpool that convinced Van Dijk to reject Pep Guardiola and Manchester City.
The Reds’ defence was already showing signs of improvement when he arrived, and there were still more improvements to be made after he did show up on Merseyside—namely signing Fabinho and Alisson—but Van Dijk’s quality and impact can’t be overstated.
As for the larger Liverpool picture—the league and Europe and everything else—while Gomez is quick to gush over his defensive partner, he’s far less interested in going over the top when it comes to said larger picture.
Liverpool are lucky to have Van Dijk. And lucky to have a defensive quartet rounded out by Gomez and Joël Matip and Dejan Lovren. But they still need to work hard and keep their focus if they’re to get where they want to this season.
“No one’s getting ahead of themselves or thinking any further than the next game and that’s what’s most important about this team,” Gomez added. “We’ve got so many characters in the dressing room as well as the manager to keep it like that. It’s just about keeping our heads down, focusing, and cracking on.”