Virgil van Dijk says 24-year-old player who reportedly turned down Liverpool move is 'world class'
Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images

Virgil van Dijk says 24-year-old player who reportedly turned down Liverpool move is 'world class'

Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk has labelled PSG’s Kylian Mbappe as being ‘world-class.’

Van Dijk and Mbappe are set to come head-to-head tonight as the Netherlands take on France in Paris. And speaking to reporters via Sky Sports News this morning, the Liverpool star has praised France’s new captain.

“Football is 11 vs 11 and it’s rarely one against one, so the important thing is to help each other and position ourselves well,” said the 31-year-old.

“If Mbappe manages to overwhelm a player, another player will have to take his place. It’s true, Kylian is world-class, that’s clear, and he can make the difference for sure.”

The Netherlands will be hoping to get off to a good start with what is the toughest game of their Euro 2024 qualifying group.

Van Dijk looking for clean sheet repeat

Tonight is a real test for Virgil and his Netherlands side. The first game under returning coach Ronald Koeman, it could hardly be a bigger challenge.

But as he always is, Van Dijk will be confident that he can keep one of the world’s very best attackers at bay. He managed it last time the two countries met – although that was way back in November 2018.

Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images

At that time, Virgil wasn’t quite yet the monstrous centre-back he’s since become and Mbappe was still a teenager – albeit an exceptional one. Van Dijk won the day, the Dutch running out 2-0 victors.

Right now, your money would probably be on the Frenchman winning this particular duel. Mbappe is having a very good season, while Liverpool’s No.4 hasn’t been at his imperious best. But against the very best, Virgil usually turns it on.

Had things been different, the two could have been facing each other regularly in training at Liverpool. Mbappe was reportedly told by PSG last summer that he could join the Reds, but the 24-year-old turned down the opportunity.

In truth, it’s highly unlikely Liverpool could have financed the move anyway. But still, Van Dijk at one end of the pitch, Mbappe at the other… Woof! Viewers are in for a treat if they tune in this evening – a real clash of the titans.

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