"The best defender I've ever seen" - High praise for Van Dijk from former Reds defender: Virgil van Dijk got the highest possible praise from a former Liverpool defender

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Former Scotland and Liverpool defender Gary Gillespie has said that current Reds star Virgil van Dijk is the best defender he has ever seen.

Van Dijk is no stranger to praise these days after leading Liverpool to two consecutive Champions League finals and a record points haul in the Premier League in the 18 months since his arrival.

The Dutch international is also expected to push Lionel Messi close for the Ballon d’Or – an achievement which would have been previously unthinkable for a defender.

Gillespie was speaking on LFCTV’s LFC Later programme when he disclosed that Van Dijk is the best defender he’s seen play the beautiful game.

“Normally it is the players that catch the eye, the players that score the goals, that dribble and beat people, that create opportunities and I think it speaks volumes that he’s even being talked about as winning the Ballon d’Or, the fact he’s a centre-back.

“For me, he’s the best [defender] I’ve seen, absolutely. He’s right up there, outstanding in every department [and] in one-on-one situations, and that’s so key these days, with the way that modern teams play.

“Sometimes you are left in one-on-one situations and you just need to look at his stats last season: I think they were that not one player dribbled past him. I just think that’s phenomenal.”

Gillespie’s quotes come as further proof of the high regard Van Dijk is held in throughout the football world.

Liverpool’s number 4 will continue his preseason preparations with The Reds when they face Napoli in Murrayfield, Scotland, on Sunday evening.

For the most in-depth tactical and statistical analysis regarding Liverpool FC, sign up now! The original home of Pressing Stats, Anfield Index also brings you the latest views from club legends such as Jan Molby.

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