Everton forward Richarlison says he has “already dribbled past” Liverpool star Virgil van Dijk and can name three better defenders than the Dutchman.
The Reds have catapulted themselves into a 22-point lead at the top of the Premier League table with Van Dijk marshalling a backline that has conceded only 21 goals.
Van Dijk finished runner-up to Lionel Messi in the 2019 Ballon d’Or and was named PFA Players’ Player of the Year last season after winning the Champions League in his first full season at Liverpool.
However, Richarlison – who will come up against Van Dijk on Sunday in the Merseyside derby – has played down the hype surrounding the Liverpool man with the Brazilian insisting that there are “better defenders”.
Speaking to Desimpedidos about Van Dijk, Richarlison said: “People talk a lot about him, yes he is a great defender but I’ve already dribbled past him. He was chosen as one of the top three in the world as he had an excellent season.
“But yes, for me there are better defenders.”
When pushed on which defenders were better than Van Dijk, Richarlison added: “Thiago Silva, Marquinhos and Sergio Ramos.”
Milner said: “He’s right up there. I’ve been very fortunate to have played with some amazing centre-halves. You look at Rio [Ferdinand], Jonathan Woodgate, Vinny Kompany, and Virg is right in there with all those guys.
“He reads the game so well, he’s quick, he’s strong, he’s good on the ball, he’s a good communicator and he’s deadly in the air.
“And his positioning is so good. You can see that after the game when you look at how far players have run. He’s run miles less than everyone else, even the other centre-halves, and you think ‘how is that possible?’ but it’s because he reads the game so well.
“He’s an incredible player for us, and a big part of what we do. The spine in the team is massive and he is obviously a rock in that defence.”