Glen Johnson has admitted he would have liked Virgil van Dijk lining up alongside him during his Liverpool days.
Since making a £75m move to Anfield in January 2018, Van Dijk has become one of Jurgen Klopp’s most important players, winning more aerial duels (221) and completing more passes (3,173) in the Premier League than any other Liverpool player during that time.
Vital Van Dijk: Five key things to know…
- Liverpool paid £75m to Southampton for Van Dijk in January 2018.
- Many rival fans scorned at that price, but the Dutchman is now one of the best centre-backs in world football.
- No Liverpool player has won more aerial duels (221) or completed more passes (3,173) in the league than Van Dijk since his arrival.
- Liverpool have conceded just 17 Premier League goals this season, the fewest in the division.
- And ex-Reds full-back Glen Johnson has admitted he would have liked Van Dijk alongside him during his Anfield days.
Van Dijk has also begun contributing in an attacking sense, with three goals in his last four appearances, including one in the 3-1 win over Bayern Munich on Wednesday, in which he also provided an assist.
And Johnson, who played for Liverpool between 2009 and 2015, has hailed Van Dijk’s ability to ‘put world-class strikers to sleep’, admitting he would have liked to play alongside him during his time at the club.
“As a player, you don’t want to see others around you panicking and that’s one thing I’ve never seen him do,” Johnson told talkSPORT.
“When players see him as calm as he is in every situation, it rubs off and everyone puffs themselves out as well.
“There’s going to be many times in the Champions League you’ll come up against world-class strikers, and he’s the player you need to put them to sleep.
“I would’ve liked to have him at Liverpool [when I was there].
“But, to be fair, we did have top centre-halves at the time as well. We had [Daniel] Agger and [Martin] Skrtel.”
Liverpool sit a point behind Premier League leaders Manchester City but could overtake their title rivals with a win at Fulham on Sunday.
Subscribe to Squawka’s Youtube channel here.
“They took away our belief”, Mats Hummels on Liverpool’s victory over Bayern
It isn’t just in the Premier League where Liverpool are competing for silverware, with the Reds pulling off an impressive 3-1 victory away to Bayern Munich on Wednesday to fire them into the Champions League quarter-finals.
And following the result, Bayern defender Mats Hummels, who played under Jurgen Klopp during his time at Borussia Dortmund, hailed his former manager’s ability and told of how Liverpool snatched away the Bavarian’s belief.
“I know Jurgen Klopp and he is very good at eliminating the opponents’ strengths and he showed that again today,” Hummels said.
“The 1-2 took away our belief. After that Liverpool was the better team. Still, this was not a great game of football.”
As a result of their win, Liverpool have been drawn against Porto in the quarter-finals of the Europa League.