The start of 2019 will mark the end of Virgil van Dijk’s first full year as a Liverpool player and he is rightly being handed a huge amount of credit lately for his impact on the Reds defence.
He is seen as the Premier League’s best centre half and moreover, as the man who has transformed Liverpool’s defence.
The stats show that Jurgen Klopp’s side have conceded fewer goals than any other top flight side in history at the same stage of the season but the Dutchman is not the only factor that has brought about the defensive turnaround.
Alisson was Klopp’s big-money summer gamble to rectify the club’s long-standing defensive issues and one statistic underlines the scale of the improvement he has already brought about this season.
According to Sky Sports, Liverpool’s save ratio was the second worst in the Premier League last season, languishing down at 64 per cent with either Simon Mignolet or Loris Karius between the sticks.
This time around, it’s up at 86 per cent, which is better than any other stopper in the top flight and that’s a huge transformation.
The best goalkeepers save their sides point after point without making a great deal of fuss and the Brazilian is stopping shots that his predecessors wouldn’t have.
As good as van Dijk has been, Alisson has earned Liverpool points with crucial contributions and that has been as big a factor as any in their recent improvement.