Virgil van Dijk scored his fourth goal of the 2018/19 Premier League season as Liverpool earned a crucial 3-2 win against Newcastle United at St James’ Park to keep their title hopes alive.
Former Liverpool player turned popular football pundit Jamie Redknapp has showered praise on the Dutchman while writing his column for the Daily Mail.
The 27-year-old, who won the PFA player of the year award last month, has been simply outstanding for the Reds this season, and his impact on the side goes beyond just superb defending or scoring goals.
Redknapp has rightly pointed out that he is a leader, and brings stability at the back with his calming presence. He adds that Van Dijk has ‘completely transformed’ Jurgen Klopp’s side this season.
Against Newcastle, he played a very important role apart from the goal. The Dutchman urged Xherdan Shaqiri to take the free-kick instead of Trent Alexander-Arnold, from which Divock Origi headed the winner four minutes from time to keep Liverpool’s title bid hopes alive.
“There was one moment during Liverpool’s victory over Newcastle that captured the impact Virgil van Dijk has had on Jurgen Klopp’s team,” wrote Redknapp.
“With Xherdan Shaqiri and Trent Alexander-Arnold standing over a free-kick, Van Dijk urged the Swiss midfielder to take it. The result? Shaqiri crossed for Divock Origi to head in the winner that keeps Liverpool’s title bid alive.
“Some argued that it would take more than one player to sort out Liverpool’s defence. Not only has Van Dijk done that but he has completely transformed this team. He is a leader, an organiser and a calming presence rolled into one.
“I cannot think of another player who has had a greater impact on a Premier League team.”
Indeed, Van Dijk has turned out to be a massive signing for the club. The Reds paid a massive transfer fee to secure his signature, and he has not only justified his price-tag but proved why he is one of the best in the Premier League.
If Liverpool manage to win the Premier League (Manchester City are still in control though), a lot of credit should go to Van Dijk for his heroic contribution to the side this season.