Jurgen Klopp labels Liverpool star ‘the best in the world;’ makes bold Rio Ferdinand comparison

Harry Watkinson
Liverpool hatch transfer plan
Liverpool pair Jurgen Klopp and Virgil van Dijk.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp labelled Virgil van Dijk as “the best defender in the world,” as he looks ahead to the Reds’ clash with Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Klopp’s team picked up a valuable three points in a 2-0 away win against Sheffield United on Wednesday – which leaves them in second place in the table, just two points behind Arsenal.

Arsenal face a tough fixture against Aston Villa this weekend, so Liverpool have a chance to secure top spot if they can beat the Eagles.

On that, Klopp said: “We want to win our game. Arsenal doesn’t need extra pressure to play Aston Villa. We have a job to do against Crystal Palace. We need the points and we want to go for them.”

“The [title race] is a bit unusual because City is not top of the table with ten points between first and second. Arsenal are doing extremely well. Aston Villa are super strong.

“United, I’m not following it, but they are around. Even we could have a few points more, but we don’t. We just prepare for the next game and try to be ready again.”

Klopp went on to praise Liverpool’s performances this season, claiming that they have become a ‘real team’ after struggling at times last term.

“I wanted to create a basis early in pre-season and then to become a real team, you have to overcome difficulties. We got that delivered with red cards, being 1-0 down.

READ MORE: ‘Stroppy’ Liverpool boss Klopp told 12.30 kick-offs ‘not a hill to die on’ after ‘really weird’ exchange

“I have no idea where we would have been without that. I am just happy with the development up until this point. We had to replace some of the biggest leaders in world football.”

However, Klopp singled out one player in particular who put in a fine display against Sheffield United – club captain Van Dijk.

Virgil is the best defender in the world,” Klopp said.

“Did he have lesser good spells? Yes. Show me someone who never had. Was Rio Ferdinand always perfect? Jaap Stam? Sami Hyypia? Nobody was and nobody ever will be. He’s super important.”

Van Dijk did struggle at times last season, but in fairness the whole Liverpool squad did. This term, however, the Netherlands international seems to be back to his brilliant best.

Van Dijk has made 14 appearances across all competitions so far, helping his team to keep four clean sheets. He also scored against Sheffield United on Wednesday.

Klopp will no doubt be hoping that the Dutchman can keep up his stellar run of form as he eyes a second Premier League title with Liverpool.

DON’T MISS: Premier League most chances created: Trippier leapfrogs Fernandes despite Everton shocker