BBC Sport pundit: Virgil van Dijk like Eric Cantona at Liverpool FC

Chris Sutton likens Virgil van Dijk's impact at Liverpool FC to Eric Cantona's success at Man United

Virgil van Dijk (Photo: Sky Sports / YouTube)
Virgil van Dijk (Photo: Sky Sports / YouTube)

Chris Sutton believes Virgil van Dijk’s ability to transform Liverpool FC into title contenders is all the more remarkable given that the Dutch star is a defender.

Jurgen Klopp’s side are pushing for a first Premier League crown as the Reds look to edge Manchester City in what has been a pulsating title race.

Liverpool FC started the Premier League weekend sitting in top spot in the table and two points ahead of Manchester City’s home clash against Spurs.

The Reds will make the trip to Cardiff City on Sunday as Van Dijk and his defensive colleagues look to secure their 19th clean sheet of the season.

Van Dijk has transformed the Liverpool FC defence into the best in the Premier League since his world record move for a defender to Anfield from Southampton.

The Reds have only conceded 20 times in the Premier League this season to put Liverpool FC in contention for the English top-flight crown.

Asked to name his PFA player of the year, former Chelsea FC striker Sutton opted for Van Dijk.

The BBC Sport pundit highlighted Van Dijk’s ability to turn Liverpool FC into title challengers just like Eric Cantona did at Manchester United in the 1990s.

“Liverpool have not had the same firepower as they did last season so for them to still be in the title race is largely down to Van Dijk’s influence,” Sutton told BBC Sport.

“Historically, when one player turns a team into title contenders, it is usually an attacker – like Eric Cantona at Manchester United for example.

“Van Dijk has had the same kind of impact, by making Liverpool statistically into the best defence in the Premier League.”

Sutton added: “I don’t think many people realised how good he was when he was at Celtic. They do now.

“This might sound like I am saying “I told you so” but he had all the attributes then in terms of his passing and his defending. There is no doubt he has developed, but he was always a top-quality defender, and so graceful that he is lovely to watch.”

Liverpool FC will take on FC Barcelona in the Champions League semi-finals.

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