Sky Sports pundit outlines how Virgil van Dijk has improved at Liverpool FC
Liverpool FC legend Phil Thompson raves about Virgil van Dijk and his improving leadership skills at the Anfield outfit
Virgil van Dijk has improved his leadership skills since moving to Liverpool FC, according to former Reds captain Phil Thompson.
The Netherlands international transferred to Liverpool FC from Southampton in a £75m deal in the 2018 January transfer window.
Van Dijk’s move came after a lengthy pursuit by the 18-time English champions, with Jurgen Klopp spending a world record fee for a defender to land the Dutch star.
The 27-year-old has made his mark on the Liverpool FC defence thanks to his calming influence and leadership skills at the heart of their back four.
Liverpool FC have conceded less goals than the rest of the Premier League this season to leave their days of erratic defending behind them.
Van Dijk has managed to bring out the best in his defensive colleagues such as Joe Gomez, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson.
While Thompson hailed Van Dijk as a “a nine or 10 out of 10” player every week, the former Liverpool FC captain has been particularly impressed with Van Dijk’s leadership.
“This man is a colossus. In more ways than his 6ft 4in frame. The way he strikes that pose on that pitch. He is imposing,” Thompson told Sky Sports.
“It’s the way he glides through games, reading it. Last week, people were saying after half an hour that Dominic Calvert Lewin was having a fantastic game. He was inside the top pocket of Virgil.
“In the second half when it wasn’t going Liverpool’s way, he remonstrates with people, for example with Fabinho when he’d given it away. He was absolutely going for him.
“I’ve seen that even more in him, the leadership. He’s set his standards high, and he maintains them. He’s a nine or 10 out of 10 every week.”
Liverpool FC – who beat Burnley 4-2 on Sunday – will make the return trip to Bayern Munich in the Champions League next week with a place in the quarter-finals up for grabs.
The Reds were forced to settle for a goalless draw with the German side in the first leg at Anfield.