Hard to believe that Virgil van Dijk has only been a member of Liverpool FC for four years. The talented centre-back arrived from Southampton and became such an influential and crucial member of Jurgen Klopp’s team that it feels as though he’s been around forever.
Of course, long time fans of the club will remember Liverpool’s constant defensive struggles throughout the 2010s. They’ll also remember the absolute disaster Liverpool made of van Dijk’s attempted transfer the previous summer, despite the fact that the move was clearly wanted by the club and the player. After the debacle of the summer, the club wasted no time announcing that they got the job done in the winter of 2017.
The double-punch of van Dijk arriving to lead the defensive line and Alisson Becker taking control between the sticks seemed to transform the club’s fortunes overnight. The team once known for leaking goals and blowing leads became impenetrable.
During the pre-Leicester City press conference, Klopp was asked about his thoughts on the four year anniversary of van Dijk joining the Reds.
“Virgil’s arrival was obviously a big day in our common history and is a good example for a winter transfer how it works,” he said. “I think a winter transfer works when you wanted to sign the player either the summer before or the summer after anyway. That was the situation, we wanted Virg in the summer already, for some reasons we couldn’t do the transfer, but then in the winter we tried again and could get it through.
“It was four years ago today? Cheers to that, then!”
Liverpool felt van Dijk’s absence when he missed the majority of last season, and so it’s become impossible to take for granted his leadership and importance on the pitch. His presence makes his teammates perform better and that’s been clear in this season when Liverpool have only lost one game in all competitions.
With any luck, the Dutch captain will help guide the Reds to plenty more trophies over the next few seasons.