“Hate him. Too big, too strong, too quick, too good on the ball. Always fighting. Good head of hair. One of them guys who sprays on his top, so he smells lovely.” These were Troy Deeney’s comments on coming up against Virgil van Dijk. We hear you, Troy, and we believe every Premier League forward would agree with that.
Brought in last January to solidify Liverpool’s leaky defence, VVD showed a lot of promise at the back end of the 17-18 season. Liverpool, and the footballing world expected things to look up with the acquisition of the Dutch international centre-back.
And they were not mistaken. Van Dijk exceeded expectations in a way that could not be imagined. From a regular starter in Celtic’s backline to a much coveted centre-back at Southampton and now Liverpool’s commander-in-chief at the back, VVD has only gone from strength to strength.
Now arguably the best centre-back in the world, Virgil seems to have tried his luck at a position that is probably the easiest job in the world when you have VVD in front of you: Alisson Becker’s job, goalkeeping.
It’s true. The reason that Liverpool have the meanest defence in the league, conceding only a mere 19 goals with just 6 games left to play, is the Dutchman himself. Having played in every league game this season, he makes Alisson’s job of keeping between the sticks a whole lot easier.
Fans doubt that Liverpool would’ve been worse off in the league in the absence of Van Dijk, given Liverpool’s recent history of poor goalkeepers.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) April 2, 2019
This picture of VVD in goal during training seems to have put Alisson’s position in jeopardy. Seriously though, it does beg the question: is there anything VVD can’t do?
Commanding in his own box and a force to be reckoned with in the opposition box, surefooted in his passing and switch of play, shrewd in his reading of the game, patient and well timed in his tackles, and the very definition of a cool customer, VVD is taking over. Even Alisson is not safe when van Dijk is around.
Watch out, Becker! Not for attempts against you, but for your spot in the lineup. Van Dijk has got everything covered.