Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk believes he can become even BETTER and admits he has felt ‘UNBEATABLE’ at times since returning from his horror ACL injury… before naming interviewer Rio Ferdinand in his top five Premier League centre-backs
- Virgil van Dijk has established himself as arguably the world’s best centre-back
- The Holland international spent 10 months out last season with an ACL injury
- But he has returned to help deliver FA Cup and League Cup success to Anfield
- The 30-year-old however believes he can still take his game to a higher level
Virgil van Dijk believes he could still raise his game to another level despite feeling ‘unbeatable’ at times in a Liverpool shirt.
The Reds centre-back has emerged as arguably the leading defender in the world in recent seasons, despite suffering a horror anterior cruciate ligament injury in October 2020.
The Holland international spent 10 months out as a result but has slotted seamlessly back into Jurgen Klopp’s backline to help them to FA Cup and League Cup success this season.
Liverpool centre-back Virgil van Dijk believes he could still raise his game to another level
The Dutchman missed 10 months after suffering an anterior cruciate ligament injury in 2020
Now ahead of Saturday’s Champions League final and the chance of securing a potential treble, the 30-year-old is now aiming for further success with his country at the Qatar World Cup.
‘I feel very good at the moment,’ he told Rio Ferdinand’s Between The Lines show on BT Sport.
‘I definitely needed some time to get up to speed, which is absolutely normal. It won’t be seen as normal nowadays but it is absolutely normal.
‘I would say the first three, four, five months was about getting back to speed and feeling full of confidence and feeling like you are sort of unbeatable at times.’
But he has returned this season to help deliver the FA Cup and League Cup to Anfield
Asked by Ferdinand if he is better now – something the former Manchester United and England defender is the case – van Dijk replied: ‘Maybe’, before adding: ‘I feel great.
”The funny thing is I can get better, better than what I am now. I spoke with my surgeon the other day and he said normally around this injury after two years you start to feel absolutely normal.
‘That’ll be World Cup time, so hopefully we can make something special.’
However, van Dijk then returned the compliment to Ferdinand by naming him as the best Premier League centre-back ever in his opinion.
Van Dijk is now targeting further success with Holland at the Qatar World Cup this winter
The Dutchman said: ‘You [Ferdinand] could also play in the modern-day era. Back in the day you were so important for the United team. All the English centre-backs in general looked up to you.
‘I think you were an icon as a defender. The way, your presence at centre-back is very important, being good with and without the ball. You tackled a little bit more than I do.’
Van Dijk selected ex-Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany in second place, labelling him a ‘fantastic’ skipper who scored ‘important’ goals for his former club, before picking out his striker against Leicester which prevented Liverpool from winning the league in 2018-19.
Van Dijk also named ex-Man City and Chelsea captains Vincent Kompany (L) and John Terry (R)
Former United and Holland defender Jaap Stam came third, describing him as ‘the man’ in the defence. I always thought he was going to be 6ft 5in, 6ft 6in.
‘I have so much respect for what he achieved,’ van Dijk added on Stam. Van Dijk then nominated former Chelsea and England centre-back John Terry as fourth on the list.
Ferdinand then said he could not believe van Dijk had not selected himself, before the Dutchman added he hopes to see himself in these lists in the future.
Van Dijk then rounded off his five picks with Sami Hyypia because of his legendary status at Anfield, and said he was ‘underrated’ in an ‘important period’ of the club’s history.
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Van Dijk completed his list with countryman Japp Stam (L) and ex-Liverpool star Sami Hyypia (R)