Klopp lauds Van Dijk as world’s best defender with Dutchman back to his best

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Written By Maya Cantina

Virgil van Dijk is back to his world-class best for Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp says: “Thank God!”

Van Dijk was immense in the midweek win at Sheffield United and scored Liverpool’s opening goal to keep them tucked in behind Arsenal in the title race.

Liverpool struggled when their defensive colossus and skipper was below his best and Klopp claims it is great to have him performing at his top level again.

He thanked the Almighty and hailed the Dutchman as the world’s best defender.

“It always was and will always be; Virg is the best defender in the world,” said the Liverpool boss.







Klopp has hailed Van Dijk as the world’s best defender
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Getty Images)

“Did he have lesser good spells? Yes. If you show me one player who never had that, I will be really happy to meet him. To be honest, probably that’s how we all are.

“When we look back in the past and the Rio Ferdinands on the planet, not to blame him, but were they good all the time? Or Jaap Stam, Sami Hyypia, or whoever?

“Were they always perfect? Nobody was and nobody will be. So, yes, Virg in that shape is for us super, super, super-important.

“With Virg, everything positive I said in the past, we can say again because I still think exactly the same.

“Everybody can see Virg is back and it’s obvious. Thank God!”

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The Blades’ win was Liverpool’s second game of eight during a mad 24 days this month.

Next up are Crystal Palace this lunchtime at Klopp’s favourite time of 12.30pm.

Palace boss Roy Hodgson is under pressure because the Eagles have only won one of their last eight league games and Klopp says the former Anfield boss was an inspiration when he was in his 20s.

“When Roy was manager of Switzerland, my former Mainz manager, Wolfgang Frank, showed us a lot of videos of him,” he said.

“I’m really pleased I’ve met him here in the Premier League because he’s an outstanding person and really nice man.

“When I see him I ask him ‘what are you doing?’. But he looks happy and enjoys it, so I couldn’t respect him more. He was my inspiration.”

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Klopp may bring Alisson back for the trip to Selhurst Park and the Brazil goalkeeper trained on Thursday after missing Liverpool’s last three games with a hamstring injury.

“Ali is an option,” he said. “I don’t know if we will take it. We don’t have a lot of time, but enough time to talk to Ali, see how he feels and we will make a decision.”

Klopp also said he would like to see Joel Matip offered a new deal and the 32-year-old centre-half, who is in his eighth season at Anfield, may not play again before his current deal expires in June because of an ACL injury.

“I would say so, but it’s not my decision,” he said. “I cannot sign the paperwork.

“I’m pretty sure the club will show their class. He deserves all the support from us and he will get it.”

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