Van Dijk has earned plenty of plaudits this season especially after his display during Liverpool’s win at Bayern Munich but Durham believes the defender is not as good as others make out
Virgil van Dijk earned plenty of plaudits for his part in Liverpool’s Champions League triumph at Bayern Munich but talkSPORT host Adrian Durham is not entirely convinced.
Liverpool won 3-1 at the Allianz Arena thanks to Sadio Mane’s brace and a bullet header from Van Dijk to seal their place in the quarter-finals of the competition.
The defender was at the heart of the win, scoring a goal and keeping one of the world’s best strikers in Robert Lewandowski quiet throughout the match.
Van Dijk arrived at Anfield in January 2018 for £75million, a world-record fee for a defender but a price tag many view as a bargain given his impact at the club.
And while Durham accepted Van Dijk has improved Liverpool, the Drivetime host questioned whether he’s really as good as other great defenders in Premier League history.
Durham said: “Let me start by saying, I think he is very good but when I saw the goal that Gerard Pique scored for Barcelona last night, I don’t see Van Dijk doing that.
“I don’t see Van Dijk doing what John Terry, Rio Ferdinand or Nemanja Vidic did in the Premier League.
“He’s improved Liverpool, but how good is he really compared with the rest even around now?”
Durham’s co-host Darren Gough then stepped in on the debate and gave his views on the Dutchman.
Gough said: “When I watched him against Manchester City earlier this season in a game Liverpool lost – Rolls Royce.
“He was unbelievable, he was everywhere, his positional awareness, in the air. City didn’t get any scraps off Van Dijk.
“Unfortunately he doesn’t have players like him around him but he has made Liverpool better.”
Durham then went on to describe Van Dijk’s performance in Munich and claimed he could have done more to prevent Bayern’s goal, which was an own goal by Joel Matip after the back four were caught napping at the back.
Durham added: “I would look at the Bayern Munich goal and say Van Dijk doesn’t do enough to stop the cross.
“He kind of dangled out a foot and I’m thinking that John Terry would have thrown himself head first at that – where was that from Van Dijk?
“Don’t get me wrong, I do think he’s a good player and I do think he’s improved Liverpool, but when I hear people say he’s the best in the Premier League, or the best in Europe or the best ever in the Premier League, I do think the superlatives have gone too far. Let’s just keep it in perspective.
“You’ve got to look at the things they don’t do as well as the things they can do.”