Klopp will not compare Liverpool's Van Dijk to other defenders

(THE SUN OUT, THE SUN ON SUNDAY OUT)  Jurgen Klopp manager of Liverpool during a training session at Melwood Training Ground on November 8, 2018 in Liverpool, England.

Liverpool's boss was asked if he felt his Dutch centre-back was the best in the Premier League.

(THE SUN OUT, THE SUN ON SUNDAY OUT)  Virgil van Dijk of Liverpool during a training session at Melwood Training Ground on November 8, 2018 in Liverpool, England.

Jurgen Klopp played it coy when he was asked if he thinks Virgil van Dijk is currently the best defender in the Premier League.

Careful not to draw comparisons or put any unnecessary added pressure on Liverpool's number 4, Klopp simply highlighted the fact that everyone at the club is happy with the job Van Dijk is doing for them.

As reported on LiverpoolFC.com, “I am really, really happy with him,” Klopp said.

“I am not a guy who likes these comparisons and stuff like that. I am really, really happy with him [and] Virg knows that.” Klopp said.

“With his skills and quality and stuff like that there is always a big responsibility as well, that you have to be spot on [and] on that level every day.

“It’s just that he has quality and that’s good. Like Joe has, like Dejan has, like Joel has. That’s really good for us that we are in that position, obviously. We don’t have a lot of problems.”

 

Van Dijk has shown himself to be one of the best centre-backs in European football over the last year. He was already playing to a fantastic level at Southampton, but he seems to have upped his game considerably since his arrival at Anfield.

Liverpool's defence was in a state of turmoil for the first few months of the 2017/18 season. 5-0 and 4-1 hammerings at Manchester City and Spurs respectively were the standout low points of a spell, when Klopp was subjected to much derision for refusing to buy another centre-back when Liverpool's original interest for Van Dijk was knocked back by Southampton.

Virgil van Dijk of Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp, Manager of Liverpool applauds fans after the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Cardiff City at Anfield on October 27, 2018 in...

Van Dijk eventually arrived in January 2018 and soon showed Liverpool fans why Klopp had insisted on waiting for his number one target.

Liverpool have only lost three league games since signing Van Dijk over 10 months ago. The centre-back has started all 11 of Liverpool's Premier League games this season and The Reds' have conceded only five goals in that period.

Van Dijk has a 90% passing accuracy rate, wins 72.7% of all tackles and averages 5.6 clearances per game. He has only picked up one yellow card and gives away 0.7 fouls per 90 minutes. He also wins 67% of all duels with the opposition.

While Klopp is eager to avoid adorning any star players with titles of 'best in the league', or similar, there may be no avoiding it in the future if Van Dijk continues to progress as he has over the last two years. His level of consistency since arriving at Anfield suggests that if he is not considered one of the best defenders in Europe, currently, then it won't be long before he is.

(THE SUN OUT, THE SUN ON SUNDAY OUT) Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Daniel Sturridge and Dominic Solanke of Liverpool during a training session at Melwood Training Ground on October 18, 2018...

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