Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk has been described as “the full package” by Anfield icon Danny Murphy, in conversation with talkSPORT.
The Reds have been dealt a huge blow after it was confirmed that the 29-year-old centre-back would require surgery on an ACL injury suffered during the Merseyside derby.
Van Dijk was unable to continue following a challenge from Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford early on during Saturday’s Premier League encounter at Goodison Park.
Stressing just how important Van Dijk is to Liverpool, Murphy declared him ahead of Rio Ferdinand and John Terry as the Premier League’s greatest ever centre-back.
“I was very fortunate to play with Rio Ferdinand in his pomp with England,” Murphy told talkSPORT. “He was one of the very best centre-halves I’ve ever seen as well.
“But Van Dijk for me is the full package. There are no weaknesses in his game. I think his long range passing may be a better than Rio’s but we are splitting hairs.
“The only thing that Van Dijk missing to become the best is longevity because what Rio and Terry did is play over a decade and won trophies in that time. That’s what Van Dijk has got to do.
“But if you are making a centre-half on a computer, he would come out. I’ve played against a lot and seen a lot, and I’ve never seen a centre-half make it so easy. It is effortless for him.
“When people start bringing up people like Bobby Moore [as the best ever], I didn’t see him! You can only go on what you have seen and and played against.”
Anterior cruciate ligament injuries unfortunately tend to bring long-term layoffs and Jurgen Klopp confirmed Van Dijk would be out “for a while”, though he didn’t put a timescale.
The £180,000-a-week ace is indeed a world-class defender and will be missed, but Liverpool now have to regroup in wake of this huge setback and potentially bring in someone new in January.