Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk has been praised by Chelsea counterpart Antonio Rudiger, who told Sky Sports that the Reds colossus is a “beast” and “maybe the best” in his position.
The Reds currently sit top of the Premier League table, 25 points clear of second-placed Manchester City, and Van Dijk has been crucial in getting Jurgen Klopp’s side up there.
The 28-year-old has been a revelation since joining the Reds from Southampton in January 2018 for a reported £75million fee, an outlay of money which initially drew criticism from some quarters.
In a short space of time, Van Dijk proved a key component in transforming a shaky Liverpool defence into a solid, tight-knit unit, the team reaching the Champions League final that summer.
Last season, the Netherlands international helped the Anfield side win the Champions League as well as push a superb Manchester City outfit all the way in the Premier League.
Rudiger named Van Dijk in his XI of the toughest opponents he’s faced, telling Sky Sports: “In the last two years he’s shown he is definitely one of the best, even maybe the best at the moment.
“He is a beast. You always look up to those kind of players because these two centre-backs are, at the moment, the best centre-back, so of course you can learn something from them. Everyone has their own style of playing, but you can learn from them.”
There can be little doubt that Van Dijk is currently one of the best, if not the best defender in world football, and aside from his recent exploits for Liverpool, it’s worth remembering how shaky the Reds defence was prior to his arrival.
Fully worth his £180,000 a week salary (Spotrac), the Dutchman has helped Liverpool to the Champions League and on the brink of a first English top-flight title in 30 years, and it’s little surprise that one of his peers has lavished such praise on him.