Paul Merson: What I really think about Virgil van Dijk at Liverpool FC
The Sky Sports pundit likens Virgil van Dijk to Liverpool FC legend Alan Hansen
Paul Merson says Liverpool FC centre-half Virgil van Dijk is the best defender in the world.
The Netherlands international’s impact at Liverpool FC has been breathtaking over the past 14 months after helping to transform Jurgen Klopp’s defence.
Van Dijk moved to Liverpool FC in a world-record deal for a defender after the Reds managed to prize the 27-year-old away from Southampton.
The Dutch star helped the Merseyside outfit to reach the Champions League final last season before goalkeeping mistakes cost Liverpool FC in a 3-1 loss to Real Madrid.
Van Dijk has been Liverpool FC’s most consistent player this season and the club record signing has helped Klopp’s back four keep the best defensive record in the top flight.
Before the 4-2 win over Burnley on Sunday, Liverpool FC started the weekend having conceded a mere 15 times in 30 games in the Premier League – and Alisson Becker has managed to keep 17 clean sheets so far.
Now, former Arsenal midfielder Merson has named Van Dijk as the world’s best defender, comparing his style of play to Liverpool FC legend Alan Hansen.
“He’s unbelievable. He’s so good, it’s scary,” Merson told Sky Sports.
“He’s the best in the world, and I think by a long way, as a defensive centre-half.
“Some players just see Van Dijk and kick the ball away. I saw Theo Walcott last week, he went down the right, Van Dijk comes across, and he thinks: ‘Uh oh…’ and kicks the ball away. Normally, Theo would try to take someone on with his pace.
“I can’t talk highly enough of him. He’s Alan Hansen. You can put his kit back in the skip for next week, you don’t even have to wash it, he can wear it again. He’s absolutely different class.”
Merson isn’t the only ex-pro to have likened Van Dijk to the Scottish legend after former Reds captain John Barnes likened Van Dijk to Hansen in January.
Liverpool FC will take on Bayern Munich in the second leg of their round of 16 clash at Allianz Arena on Wednesday night.
The Reds haven’t won the Premier League title since the division’s inception in 1992-93.