Virgil van Dijk’s terrific performances for Liverpool last season makes him a worthy winner for the 2019 Ballon d’Or, says Ray Clemence.
Van Dijk’s eye-catching displays at the heart of the Liverpool defence have more than justified his £75m price tag, which the club paid Southampton in January 2018 for him.
The Netherlands international was pivotal in Liverpool’s transformation into Premier League title challengers and won the PFA Player of the Year. Although Van Dijk’s biggest impact came in helping the Reds end a seven-year wait for silverware by winning the Champions League
And Clemence, who won three European Cups at Anfield during his own glittering career, has no doubts that Van Dijk deserves to be crowned the world’s greatest player.
“Who had the biggest influence for Liverpool over the full year? I would say it was Van Dijk,” the ex-goalkeeper told Goal.
“There’s an obsession with attacking and creative players winning it.
“It is more difficult to create and score goals but when you have an influence over a side like Van Dijk had last season, it wasn’t just what he did, it was what he gave. I think he should be a very strong contender for it.”
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp will now be tasked with winning the Premier League after ending the club’s trophy drought.
The German came agonisingly close to tasting league glory with the Reds last season, but fell short by a single point to champions Manchester City.
But Clemence reckons Liverpool are still short of options in their squad and need another “one or two” new players this summer.
The five-time English league winner added: “It is difficult for a team to stick with what they have got in the modern game.
“If you stay still, people go past you. Man City won it last year and they will make a couple of signings. Liverpool will have to be competing with them.
“In the last two years, Liverpool has had a good first XI, but the bench isn’t as good as Man City. Last season it got better with [Divock] Origi and [Xherdan] Shaqiri there.
“I think Liverpool only need a couple, one or two. It might disappoint the one or two who get replaced but you have to keep the competition high amongst the squad.
“The most important thing was making sure that they won something. That’s got the monkey off the back of not winning anything for so many years Hopefully, that will give them the motivation and the confidence to take it forward next year.
“It is the first time Liverpool have won something for many years.”
Liverpool completed their first signing of the summer transfer window on Thursday in Dutch teenage star Sepp van den Berg from PEC Zwolle.