Paul Robinson has stated on The Football Show on Sky Sports (22/09/20 at 11:10 am) that ‘even Dejan Lovren’ was made to look ‘top-quality’ at Liverpool because he had Virgil van Dijk next to him.
The former Premier League goalkeeper was talking about the importance of having a ‘top-quality’ centre-half at the back because they can bring the best out of the individual that is next to them.
In Van Dijk’s case, he has transformed a Liverpool backline that was previously fraught with mistakes before the 29-year-old stepped foot into Melwood.
Robinson provided both Van Dijk and Manchester City’s Aymeric Laporte as examples when discussing the need of having that high-quality player next to you in defence.
“Eyebrows were raised two years ago when Liverpool paid what they did for Virgil van Dijk and look at the impact he has had,” Robinson told Sky Sports. “It’s looking like an absolute snip now.
“It just shows the importance of having a top-quality centre-half. You look at the influence they have on the individuals around them. Manchester City are a better team when Laporte plays regardless of who plays next to him. He provides the stability. He provides confidence and communication.
“You look at the players Van Dijk has played alongside. Joe Gomez, Matip, even Lovren looked like a top-quality centre-half at times when he has played next to Van Dijk. And these top players have that impact.”
Liverpool’s trophies under Jurgen Klopp
UEFA Super Cup
FIFA Club World Cup
Lovren was a marmite-like figure during his time at Liverpool because he had a defensive mistake in him, but then he could point towards the trophies he won at Anfield.
He departed Liverpool this summer after his game time reduced during their title-winning campaign.
Whilst Jurgen Klopp has a proven defence at his disposal, that isn’t the case for their title rivals, who need more than Nathan Ake during this summer transfer window if they are to regain the Premier League title.