Virgil van Dijk: Liverpool’s Esteemed Captain
Klopp’s Praise and van Dijk’s Dominance
This week, Jürgen Klopp reiterated the notion that all Liverpool fans are fully aware of, which is that his club esteemed captain, Virgil van Dijk, stands alone as the world’s best defender. I wrote a midweek piece (following the comprehensive 0-2 victory over Sheffield United), where the 6ft 4inch defender was also awarded as man of the match. Though the 32-year-old was not as dominant against Palace today, the former Celtic man was still able to control and organise a team which was far from good, with many simply poor.
"Virgil is the best defender in the world."
Jurgen Klopp with high praise of Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk! pic.twitter.com/bcSufra1RX
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) December 8, 2023
The huge spaces created by the ongoing hybrid endeavour, would leave any other centre half in the world crippled by indecision and a sheer lack of ability. The confidence and assurance that both he and the returning Alisson Becker gave today was immense.
Guiding Young Talent and Adjusting to Team Changes
Certain games will always be a grind against dogmatic opponents and uninspired coaching (by the likes of Roy Hodgson and Chris Wilder), thereby requiring patience and constant attention to the inevitable counter attacks.
Virgil delivers far more that the commanding play we see, which has help guide this Liverpool 2.0 to the top of the Premier League.
Analysing Liverpool’s Strategy and van Dijk’s Role
At Anfield Index, there has long been the consensus that if you beat the dross, you will win the league.These tricky lunchtime kick offs’ away from home, will often produce poor performances from the reds attacking assets, which was clear today. There should have been many more individual accolades awarded to the towering defender over the years, which is why I believe his German manager has spoken out this past week.
Looking Ahead: Europa League and Premier League Challenges
This midweek sees the Europa League group stage close out with a meaningless trip to Belgium, to take on Union Saint-Gilloise.
Manchester United visit Anfield next Sunday, after they themselves were humbled at Old Trafford today, as Bournemouth secured an unbelievable 0-3 win.
Today was another step in the right direction for Klopp and his men, as the weekend can be enjoyed by the fanbase in the knowledge that the reds place at the top of the tree is assured until at least next weekend.
Haha, he's doing this after an ACL injury that has apparently 'finished' him.
Virgil van Dijk is not human. https://t.co/zjPk04A0Gy
— Henry Jackson (@HenryJackson87) December 5, 2023
Pre-match Prediction; Crystal Palace 1 – 3 Liverpool