The Reds took a big risk by making the Dutchman the world’s most expensive defender but he hasn’t looked back.
Van Dijk has played 40 games for Liverpool since joining, conceding 36 goals and keeping 20 clean sheets. Given the issues which had dogged the Reds prior to his arrival, it represents a significant improvement. This season, he has led a backline which has conceded just five goals in 13 Premier League games, Liverpool’s best ever start to a league campaign defensively. The Reds once went through an entire season shipping just 16 goals. The defender has been the missing piece that Liverpool were looking for years. Van Djik is helping his club side as they look to win the Premier League and Champions League. The Dutchman speaks up on the title race and the chance of him winning the Footballer Player of the year.
Van Dijk believes that Liverpool’s collective mentality is stronger now than last season when they came within a whisker of winning the Champions League but ultimately losing the final against Real Madrid. They now face Porto in the final eight this season. The Reds remain on top of the Premier League even though Pep Guardiola’s side have a game in hand. And they also secured the Champions League quarter-final draw the rest, including title rivals City, were looking for in the form of rank outsiders Porto. Van Djik said, “With Liverpool, we are where we want to be. Everything is positive. We are in the race for the Premier League, and in the race for the Champions League. It is going to be very tough but we will challenge until the end in both of those competitions. The experience Liverpool had in getting to the Champions League Final last year will help, but it doesn’t guarantee anything this season. People are saying that Porto is the easiest draw ever – but they are a very difficult team to play against. They are not in the quarter-finals for no reason, and we have to be ready for them.”
Van Dijk, so outstanding for Jurgen Klopp’s men during the current campaign, is a strong contender to win the coveted Football of the Year award. But the commanding centre-back, a talisman for both club and country, insists that any individual prizes will not be enough for him in the coming months. He said, “It’s nice if people talk about me for Player of the Season – there are a few players who have doing outstandingly well in the Premier League. And I’m not sure who I will vote for myself – we will see!”
It seems Van Djik has put behind the loss against Germany and changed his focus to delivering titles to it’s club side. The Dutchman has been crucial to Liverpool’s scintillating form this season and Van Djik will be hoping to end the trophy drought by winning the Premier League.