Jonathan Woodgate has waxed lyrical about Virgil Van Dijk after his display for Liverpool at Villa Park last night.
Speaking to BBC podcast Football Daily, Woodgate couldn’t get over just how good Van Dijk had been for Liverpool.
“The performance for me on the Liverpool team was Van Dijk, he was extraordinary,” said the pundit. “Constantly in the right place at the right time. Wins one-v-one duels. I just think where would Liverpool be without Virgil Van Dijk? They wouldn’t be up where they are now.”
The former England centre-back claimed that if you were to build a perfect central defender, then Van Dijk would be it.
“He is the ultimate centre-back. If you could make any centre-back in world football with all the ability, he has it, he has everything,” gushed Woodgate.
“I thought tonight watching him, he was exceptional. He’s a pure Rolls Royce. He just never panics, he’s always in control of the situation, he never makes rash decisions, he constantly stays on his feet.
“You can see him constantly barking out orders, but never rushed, never flustered, makes the right pass, the right tackle. He’s so good to watch.”
A brilliant appraisal from a centre-back who wasn’t too shabby himself.
One of the best ever
Van Dijk is so good that he has almost become a victim of his own success. Fantastic performances like the one last night have become so normal from the Dutchman to as almost not even register.
There’s no doubt that he was imperious for The Reds, but then again, he usually is. Watching him week-in-week-out is an absolute pleasure and one that we’ll no doubt only fully enjoy once he’s left the club.
The plaudits have come thick and fast for the 30-year-old since he returned from injury, and so they should. Just yesterday Kostas Tsimikas hailed him as the best defender he’d ever seen.
Judging from Woodgate’s comments, he’s just the latest to subscribe to that viewpoint.
Liverpool’s high line catches out the officials
For those inside the ground, it might have looked like Liverpool’s high-line was struggling to cope with the runs of Danny Ings and Ollie Watkins. The pair, Ings in particular, got in behind Liverpool a couple of times in the second-half.
But mostly the former Liverpool striker was offside. Van Dijk, Matip and Alisson have marshalled Liverpool’s notoriously high-line so well that opposition forwards just cannot stay onside.
Even the Villa goal should have been called back. Liverpool were desperately unlucky to see their clean sheet stripped from them early in the game.
To concede in the manner which they did will irk Van Dijk and the rest of the back four. When they’re playing a game of such fine margins, they really do need the officials to help them out better than they did last night.