Liverpool midfielder Fabinho has claimed the squad are thrilled to have defender Virgil van Dijk back from injury.
Speaking with Stadium Astro after the win over Newcastle yesterday, the Brazilian was full of praise for the 31-year-old, who was out for over a month with a hamstring injury.
“I think sometimes in the season, we missed a little bit of leadership on the pitch,” said Fabinho.
“Virgil is one of the leaders in this group, as Jordan Henderson is as well – James Milner [too].
“Having these players on the pitch is always important. You know they will be loud, they will talk to the team, try to organise the team.
“Virgil, he’s the best centre-half in the world.
“He’s really important for us. Set pieces, he’s someone always winning almost every ball.
“Yes, I’m very happy to have him back and playing at this level.”
Fabinho full of praise for van Dijk
Although he hasn’t been at his best this season, van Dijk is still absolutely crucial to any success on Merseyside.
Since arriving from Southampton for £75m, the defender has arguably been the best player of the Jurgen Klopp era.
His calm and collected presence in the back-line has added stability to an otherwise nervy side, as the men around him appear more confident in themselves.
Despite his career-threatening injury, the Dutchman remains as the best centre-back in world football.
Although he is 31 years old now, he is showing little signs of slowing down, having been hailed as ‘magnificent’ by pundit Martin Keown.
In fact, he’s surely still one of the fastest players in Klopp’s entire squad.
Therefore, the fact he will be fully fit to face Real Madrid on Tuesday will come as a huge boost to Liverpool.