Gary Neville has backtracked on what he said previously about Virgil van Dijk and now says that the Dutchman is “a monster” in defence.

Liverpool opened their 2018/19 season with a 4-0 win over West Ham at Anfield, keeping yet another clean sheet at home. In fact, the Reds haven’t conceded at home in the league since February.

This newfound defensive solidity is in part due to the arrival of van Dijk after the centre-back completed a £75million move from Southampton while Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold have been huge revelations at fullback.

The jury might still be out on Dejan Lovren but the Croatian was very good towards the end of last season but most of the credit will go to van Dijk, whose calming presence even brought the best out of Loris Karius.

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Speaking on the Gary Neville Podcast, the man himself said: “I thought Van Dijk was a good player at Southampton, but I didn’t think he was worth £75m, and I didn’t think he would have the impact on Liverpool’s defence that he’s had.

“He’s a monster, and is looking a bit like Jaap Stam. It looks like he just throws people out of the way.”

He continued, adding that he believes the Reds will challenge Manchester City for the Premier League title: “I think Liverpool are the side [City] will feel threatened by directly. Certainly, in terms of the style of play, Liverpool have certainly got the measure of Manchester City. You can see that.”

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