Alan Shearer credits 27-year-old with transforming Liverpool FC defence
BBC Sport pundit Alan Shearer names Liverpool FC defender Virgil van Dijk as his player of the season
Alan Shearer has credited Virgil van Dijk with “transforming” the Liverpool FC defence during the course of the 2018-19 season.
The Netherlands international is set to finish his first full campaign as a Liverpool FC player after Jurgen Klopp signed Van Dijk in a £75m deal from Southampton in the 2018 January transfer window.
Van Dijk became the world’s most-expensive defender when Liverpool FC finally completed a club record transfer swoop for Klopp’s long-term defensive target.
While the size of the 27-year-old’s transfer fee was initially met with some scepticism, Van Dijk has answered his critics emphatically by helping Liverpool FC to challenge Manchester City for the title this season.
Liverpool FC have the best defensive record in the Premier League after conceding just 20 times in 34 games in the English top flight this term.
And BBC Sport pundit Shearer believes that Van Dijk deserves the PFA player of the year award for his excellent performances throughout the Premier League campaign.
“I am giving it to Van Dijk, on the basis he has transformed Liverpool defensively and given them the backbone they need to go the distance in the title race,” Shearer told BBC Sport.
“Defensively they have been so much more solid than they have been in recent seasons. In goal, Alisson has improved them too, but Van Dijk has been the big difference.
“He has just been a rock for them – a real man-mountain at the back with his organisation, presence and reading of the game.
“In games or situations where Liverpool have been under pressure, he has really stood out, because he has been so dominant – whatever the scenario, and whoever he is up against.”
Van Dijk has scored three goals and has made two assists in 34 games in the Premier League this season.
Liverpool FC will take on Cardiff City in Wales in their next Premier League fixture on Sunday.
The Reds haven’t lost a Premier League game since a 2-1 defeat at Manchester City on 3 January.