The aerial prowess, leadership, pace and power that he consistently displays while defending himself to a world-class level and bringing an air of utter calm to the game and raising the level of those around him are something. thing to see.
So it’s very easy to stress how good Van Dijk has been at the heart of Liverpool’s defense.
What may not be clear and obvious to see is his incredible ability to play.
In the 2019/20 Premier League season, the defender has comfortably made more passes than any other top player.
He made a total of 3,253 passes during the campaign – over 85 in each game – and to put that in some context, it was Manchester City midfielder Rodri who finished the second most assists of all players with 2580.
205 of Van Dijk’s passes have been classified as accurate long balls and, although he has registered only one assist this quarter – with a wonderful ball at Sadio Mane against Bournemouth, the passages of play that ‘he creates are often the catalyst to put Liverpool on the front foot. and turn defense into attack in the blink of an eye.
What should also be noted here is that Van Dijk has had the second most touches of the ball throughout the season at 3,622 and that only revered Reds playmaker Trent Alexander-Arnold, had more with 3664.
The center-back is at the top of both lists for which player made the most passes and who had the most touches in the last quarter, which just shows that he isn’t just passing the ball on one occasion, but that he makes measured decisions with the ball at his feet.
You wouldn’t automatically consider Van Dijk to be one of Liverpool’s top creative playmakers, but it’s clear from the numbers alone that he’s someone very comfortable on the ball, ready to go. trying to consistently shake things up for the Premier League champions and get the squad on the move.
Another astounding feat the defender has achieved this season has also been the fact that he has played every minute of the title winning campaign.
He became only the fifth outfield player in Premier League history to win the title and play every minute of the league season.
And, following the 3-1 win at Newcastle United on Van Dijk’s final day of scoring, manager Jurgen Klopp paid tribute to his £ 75million ‘special’ man.
“I don’t know if he needs another hour of praise,” Klopp said with a smile.
“He’s good, pretty good. He’s a good mid-center.
“No, he’s special, his skill set is special, his mindset – on top of that – is special.
“It makes him a good center-back and a good guy too, which I really like. I would also work with him if he was a little harder to get around, but he really requires little maintenance.
“It’s really nice to have. We knew when we signed him we would have a really good player, but the package is so special, and we had no idea about it. It makes him really, really exciting.
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“He takes his breaks from games every now and then, which drives me crazy.
“But I understand, I understand. It was his big goal, I think, that he could do it again. I hope it will be possible for the rest of his career. It would be absolutely special.
“We tried to put him down but it’s difficult. So far it has gone well, and we hope it stays that way, but now he also has two weeks off, so he doesn’t need more I’m sure. ”
Most hits in the 2019/20 Premier League season
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 3 664
Virgil van Dijk – 3 622
Cesar Azpiliceuta – 3 416
Andy Robertson 3,373
Harry Maguire – 2 973
Most assists in the 2019/20 Premier League season
Virgil van Dijk – 3 253
Rodri – 2 580
Harry Maguire – 2518
Jonny Evans – 2491
Andy Robertson – 2490