Thiago Alcantara made quite the impression following his second-half cameo against Chelsea earlier this month.
The Spanish international was a class act making his Liverpool debut and showcasing his quality with the ball. Thiago completed 75 passes during his time on the pitch at Stamford Bridge, which was a Premier League record for a 45-minute spell.
It was a statistic that surpassed all records since Opta started recording during the 2003/04 season and more than any Chelsea player managed over the full match.
Because of this, it was thought that Thiago might hold onto this record for some time, yet Virgil van Dijk has already beaten it, just eight days after the Spaniard’s excursions in the capital.
It was a passing masterclass from the imperious Dutchman who made it 93 consecutive Premier League starts against Arsenal on Monday night.
Liverpool’s irreplaceable No.4 completed 77 passes in the first half at Anfield, beating his new teammate’s record by two passes in the process.
Virgil van Dijk completed 117 passes vs. Arsenal, *71* more than any Arsenal player.
Excellent range from the Liverpool skipper on the night. 👌 pic.twitter.com/6nclEap8p5
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) September 28, 2020
It wasn’t just safe pedestrian passses either, Van Dijk utilised the ball effectively and took risks that put Arsenal on the back-foot with his marksmen-like, pin-point 60 yard passes.
Liverpool were supremely relentless in and out of possession on Monday night, making light work of Arsenal’s expansive attacking armoury which was something that even Mikel Arteta noted post-match as a key way Liverpool beat the opposition’s press.
“We tried to put them under as much pressure as we could and we were really aggressive trying the high press in many moments, but Virgil van Dijk plays a 60-yard pass to Mo Salah’s chest and they are out,” Arteta said.
“Then you have to travel about 50 metres and this is real quality.
“They have a lot of good work, a lot of belief in the way they play, great recruitment and they’ve improved the players that they have. This is what we have to try to do.”
The dictionary is running out of superlatives to describe such a specimen who is comfortably the best defender in world football.
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