Where does van Dijk rank amongst the best Reds Centre Backs?
It was 1st January 2018 when Liverpool signed a lustrous stopper, one Virgil van Dijk.
£75m was the fee, a world record transfer amount for a centre back at the time, and there were plenty of critics that scoffed vociferously at the price tag lauded over the Dutchman’s head.
Fast-forward almost two years, and, following a Champions League triumph and a Premier League record points tally season, van Dijk impact cannot in anyway be understated.
Klopp’s inspired Liverpool outfit consists of more than the assurance offered by one player. There’s a reason the Reds are being touted as title favourites by tipster sites like betandskill.com, and Messrs Salah, Mane and co will no doubt have their say.
However, as the biblical reference implies, sand-based foundations tend to crumble.
Two years isn’t a long time in football, but such has been the grace, skill and unique artistry demonstrated by Van Dijk, already some fans are starting to debate where Virgil sits amongst Liverpool’s defensive elite.
In this post we’ll look at some of the esteemed competition, then the decision is over to you…
Leadership, courage, and, perhaps most importantly- loyalty- Jamie Carragher bled Liverpool and had it all.
For those of us not old enough to remember, a young Carragher first linked up with the Liverpool academy set up in the late 80s and stayed there until he made his senior debut in 1996.
During his spell at Anfield, the courageous stopper took up a number of positions across the back four but it was Rafa Benetiz who wisely pigeonholed Jamie as a centre back and several trophies soon followed including, most memorably, the Champions League Triumph in 2005.
In 2013, and after 737 appearances, the curtains closed on a wonderful career for Carragher and he still retains the accolade of being the second most capped player in Liverpool’s entire history.
During the golden period of the 70s/80s Alan Hansen was an instrumental figure at Liverpool having joined the club from lowly Scottish outfit Partick Thistle in 1977.
The hard-nosed stopper went on to make 620 appearances for the Reds and during his spell with the club the Scot racked up an astonishing 23 trophies including 8 league titles and 3 European Cup triumphs.
Quick on the turn and one of the best readers of the game, the Liverpool legend called time on his career in 1991 but, owing to his success and longevity, Hansen will always be regarded as a true Liverpool legend.
One of Finland’s finest ever footballing exports, Sami Hyypia had the best moments of his career at Anfield and, although he may not have enjoyed the same level of monumental success as his defensive predecessors, his influence around the turn of the century should not be overlooked.
A real leader of men and boyhood supporter, Hyypia joined the club in 1999 before going on to make 464 appearances for the Reds and scoring 35 goals in the process.
Under the Houllier era he forged solid partnerships with both Stephane Henchoz and latterly Carragher, even captaining the side on numerous occasions.
His biggest triumph was the role he played in the famous Istanbul Champions League final win but his calmness, composure and tenacity more than warranted the overwhelming ovation he received from the Kop after calling time on his career in 2009.