Phil Thompson and Matt Le Tissier are in agreement that Virgil van Dijk has the potential to be Liverpool captain and is the best defender in the league behind Toby Alderweireld.
Liverpool signed Virgil van Dijk in the January transfer window for a record fee for a defender of £75 million and although it’s already clear that the Dutchman is a class above his peers, he will need a bedding in period before we see his best.
We saw against Tottenham that the hulking defender is capable of improving those around him as well as making a difference on his own and until he felled Erik Lamela in the box in the 93rd minute of the game, he was faultless.
Former pros Phil Thompson and Matt Le Tissier are both encouraged by what they’ve seen from van Dijk but are certain that the best is yet to come.
“He has captaincy potential, but there’s also part of him which just switches off when it is a bit too easy, which if he’s going to be a captain he has to eradicate from his game,” Le Tissier said.
“There’s definitely more to come from him. Before his injury he was right up there with the best centre backs in the Premier League, although Toby Alderweireld is perhaps a fraction better all-round defender because of that consistency.”
Of course, it would be unfair to expect van Dijk to be at his very best given that he only returned from a serious ankle injury earlier this season and didn’t play much football this season with Southampton before his move to Merseyside.
On whether or not van Dijk is in his best form, Thommo said: “I agree with the comment that we’ll see the best of him next season when he’s had a full pre-season after his injuries and his head not being in the right place for so long.
“I think he’s absolutely fantastic when at his best, a Rolls Royce of a defender, reading the game very well and certainly a huge presence at 6’4” with plenty of speed.
“I thought he was quite exceptional against Tottenham with the way they played Kane, who had one of his quietest games. He was top class in that first half. In the second half, he was more under pressure and was unlucky as he didn’t see Lamela.”
“Dare I say it, he looks a future captain material,” Thompson told Sky Sports. “The way he plays, with his presence, I’d like to think he could grow into that role in another 12 months.
“He needs to be a better organiser, which will come with experience, because you need to have that ability to make sure everybody is organised, even when you’re not having a good game yourself.”
What do you think, Reds? Can Virgil van Dijk become the next Liverpool captain?