Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk is just as good as Premier League greats John Terry and Rio Ferdinand.
Having won some of the games biggest prizes both individually and in a team, Van Dijk is regarded as one of the best defenders of his generation.
However, a perceived drop in form last season has led to some questioning the new Liverpool captain’s long-term legacy. One of those is TalkSPORT’s Darren Bent, who put the question to co-host Andy Townsend yesterday. Should Van Dijk be up there with the Terry’s and Ferdinand’s of this world?
“Without question yeah, he is [up there with Ferdinand and Terry],” answered Townsend. “He’s got all the composure required, he’s elegant when he needs to be for a big man, makes the game look very easy.
“He can embarrass forwards, usually we talk about forwards embarrassing defenders but it can be the other way around with that guy because he’s that good, he can embarrass strikers with the way that he plays.
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“I always think if you’re a top, top striker I think Van Dijk sometimes gives you a little bit of a chance, he might give you half a yard whereas I think there are other defenders that would want to shut the door that little bit quicker.
“But look, all round I think it’s very difficult to argue with the fact that Van Dijk is right up there.”
Van Dijk up there with the greats
Ask any Liverpool fan this question and you’ll get the same response across the board: of course Van Dijk is up there as one of the all-time greats.
He may not have won the same number of titles as Ferdinand or Terry, but in terms of ability, he’s comfortably on a par with both.
Along with Alisson Becker, the Dutchman was the catalyst for Liverpool going from also-rans to leaders of the pack. Others stepped up for the Reds at the same time, but without Van Dijk it wouldn’t have been possible.
It is true that the 32-year-old was below his best last season. But in four-and-a-half full seasons at Liverpool (omitting his injury-wrecked 2020/21 campaign) it was the first time you could say that.
For the most part, Virgil has been impeccable. With a bit more legs around him in midfield next season, we’ll hopefully see him back to his imperious best again.
If he can drag Liverpool back up to the Premier League’s summit as captain, then these questions over his legacy will surely fade away.
Ferdinand won six championships at United, while Terry won five with Chelsea whilst wearing the captain’s armband. Virgil won’t hit those numbers with Liverpool, but that doesn’t make him any less a player. Go out and prove it again, skip!