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.


Liverpool’s Spanish midfielder Thiago Alcantara passes the ball during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Liverpool at Stamford Bridge in London on September 20, 2020. (Photo by Matt Dunham / POOL / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo by MATT DUNHAM/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

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.

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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.

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.

Liverpool v Arsenal - Premier League - Virgil van Dijk

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 28: Jurgen Klopp the head coach / manager of Liverpool and Virgil Van Dijk of Liverpool during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield on September 28, 2020 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images)

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