There is no denying that Liverpool have become a much better side since they signed Virgil van Dijk a year ago.
His £75million transfer to Liverpool was completed on January 1, 2018, from Southampton and the Reds have not looked back since.
The stats are there to back up his phenomenal impact and prove he’s worth the price tag.
Let’s remind ourselves what some people thought of the money paid for the Dutch international and how he’s proved them wrong.
“I thought van Dijk was a good player at Southampton,” said Gary Neville. “But I didn’t think he was worth £75m, and I didn’t think he would have the impact on Liverpool’s defence that he’s had.”
The wise words of Cardiff City boss Neil Warnock next who passed up on the chance to sign van Dijk earlier in his career.
“I think Sol Bamba is slightly better than van Dijk, defensive wise,” said Warnock at the time of the transfer. “Van Dijk’s got better attributes on the ball but I don’t think he’s a better defender than Sol Bamba.”
Warnock did see the funny side of it more recently, saying: “Van Dijk – I’m delighted he’s playing like he is.
“We could have bought him at Palace for £6million but my chief scout told me he was too slow. I think he’s still in a job as well!”
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Liverpool have by far the best defence in the Premier League this season. Just eight goals conceded from 20 games is staggering. The fewest amount they have conceded in a Premier League season is 25 so they are well on course to smash that.
The next best record is that of Manchester City and Chelsea with 16.
There’s no coincidence that the Reds’ defence got better after they signed van Dijk.
Before his first game, Liverpool conceded 1.2 goals per game and kept a clean sheet in just 32% of their games.
Since they signed him that goals per game figure has dropped to just 0.5 and have kept clean sheets in 57% of matches.
He’s missed just one match in all competitions for the Reds this season and played all but 35 minutes of their Premier League and Champions League games.