Manchester United won five Premier League titles with Nemanja Vidic at the heart of their defence but is Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk a superior centre-back?

Virgil van Dijk versus Nemanja Vidic may not be Messi versus Ronaldo but it is certainly a debate worth having.

But, if you ask Liverpool legend Steve Nicol, there is only one winner – the flying Dutchman who has transformed Jurgen Klopp’s Anfield from an alluring bridesmaid into the bride-to-be.

“I would pick Virgil can Dijk,” Nicol told ESPNFC, before steadfastly refusing any accusations of bias.

“Because of Vidic’s longevity, he would have the edge in a lot of peoples mind. I can see the argument but I’m going to pick Virgil can Dijk because he’s been absolutely outstanding.

“It doesn’t matter who they play for!”

As the Manchester United faithful will no doubt be at pains to point out, Vidic is one of the most decorated defenders in recent English football history.

A fearsome centre-half who was more than happy to throw his body on the line to keep his sheet clean, Vidic lifted five top-flight titles during his storied Old Trafford career while also conquering Europe in 2008.

Van Dijk, at just 28, has plenty of time on his side though it feels unlikely that he will match Vidic’s achievements barring a period of almost unprecedented dominance on the red half of Merseyside.

But, while United’s legendary number 15 was arguably the best out-and-out defender of his era, Van Dijk boasts a passing range that most midfielders would be proud off while dominating almost every striker he has come up against in the last 18 months, from Sergio Aguero to Harry Kane.

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