Former Liverpool star Jamie Redknapp has claimed that UEFA Player of the Year Virgil van Dijk is the best Premier League defender he has ever seen.
Van Dijk, 28, has been arguably the Reds’ most transformative signing this century since he arrived at Liverpool from Southampton in 2018.
Since his Anfield arrival, the big Dutchman has helped Liverpool win the Champions League, Super Cup and the Club World Cup. Van Dijk is also on course to claim his first Premier League title with Jurgen Klopp’s team currently 25 points clear at the top.
The Ballon d’Or runner-up has been touted as one of the favourites to retain the PFA Player of the Year accolade he won last year with teammates Jordan Henderson and Sadio Mane also set to challenge Van Dijk.
Following yet another stellar season for the Reds, Redknapp has suggested that Van Dijk now remains unrivalled as the best defender to ever to play in the Premier League.
“He’s just unbelievable. Probably the best Premier League defender ever. I put Adams, Terrys, Ferdinand, Vidic – but he’s the best I’ve seen”, Redknapp told Sky Sports.
What RTK has to say
Redknapp is absolutely spot on.
In a team as dominant as Liverpool, there will be an inevitable tendency to overlook such brilliance when it is made to look so ordinary on a weekly basis.
In a team that is littered in world-class talent, the big Dutchman still remains a cut above the rest.
Every week, no matter who the opposition, the UEFA Player of the Year delivers an eight or 9/10 performance. Quite surprisingly, following on from a season that saw the Netherlands captain dominate the domestic individual awards at a canter, there has been no discernible spike in Van Dijk’s Premier League statistics this season as well.
According to stats provided from The Times, Van Dijk is making one pass every minute just as he was in 2018-19, his passing accuracy is more or less still levels above everyone else in the league: 89 per cent now compared 90 per cent last season.
Despite making fewer tackles a game, the Ballon d’Or runner-up has more interceptions, and his aerial duel success is the same 75 per cent. He has already matched last season’s league goal tally of four with 11 matches still to play in the PL.
Van Dijk’s normalised brilliance has a tendency to go under-appreciated to those not associated with Anfield. His ability to showcase such extraordinary consistency makes it less memorable for supporters and players when recognising excellence because it has become the norm for the defender.