Ramos? Varane? Umtiti? No. The best central defender in Europe at the moment is Virgil van Dijk and let us show you why.
Virgil van Dijk has joined Liverpool for a reported fee of £75 million one year ago. It was the most expensive fee paid for a central defender at the time.
The Dutchman had an immediate impact on Liverpool’s defence, transforming it into the toughest one in the Premier League.
Liverpool’s defence was a laughing stock at times and was considered as the main reason for their inability to win trophies in the past several seasons. Before his first game, the Reds conceded 1.2 goals per game and kept a clean sheet in just 32% of their games.
Of course, Jurgen Klopp was well aware of his team’s poor defensive record. He decided to react in January 2018. Klopp bought Virgil van Dijk from Southampton for £75 million and the defender was already put under big pressure, as he became World’s most expensive defender.
Van Dijk absolutely transformed Liverpool’s defence since his arrival on Anfield. They’ve kept clean sheets on more than 50% of the games he has played for the club.
The Reds have the best defensive record in the Premier League at the moment, with 15 conceded goals, which is 0,6 goals per game as an average. Seven of the 15 goals came in the last five Premier League games, as Liverpool are dealing with injury trouble in the defensive line in the past month.
Virgil van Dijk for Liverpool in the Premier League since his debut:
🔴 Most touches (2,846)
🔴 Most minutes (2,845)
🔴 Most passes (2,471)
🔴 Most duels won (213)
🔴 Most clearances (173)
🔴 Most aerial duels won (155)
🔴 Most interceptions (38)
🔴 Most shots blocked (13)
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) December 21, 2018
Van Dijk is calm, cool, and is a brilliant leader. He is incredible in the air, he is strong and physically is an absolute monster. Virgil plays with a warrior spirit and will to win. There is no lost ball and lost duel for him.
He is also good with the ball, as he has most touches and most completed passes for the Reds. He has been blessed with pace as well. Rarely you can see him caught out in a one-v-one situation.
The Dutchman is Liverpool’s best player and he led them to the Champions League final last season. They are also on the top of the Premier League at the moment, with van Dijk as a favorite to win the PFA Player’s Player of the Year award.
Before their 4-1 win against Cardiff in October 2018, Liverpool had gone 918 minutes without conceding a goal at Anfield. That is just 16 minutes short of the club record, which lasted eight months.
Van Dijk also helped Holland reach the UEFA Nations League final four. They won their group with France and Germany.
Maybe van Dijk isn’t a World Cup and Champions League winner like Ramos and Varane, but the job he does for Liverpool is amazing. He is for sure the best defender in the Premier League, but we believe he may be the best in whole Europe as well.