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Van Dijk won the PFA Player of the Year award in his first full Liverpool campaign..

Stats have put Virgil van Dijk's 2018/19 Premier League season into perspective

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Virgil van Dijk has almost completed his first full season at Liverpool.

When the Dutchman first arrived at Anfield, much of the focus was on his £75 million transfer fee and not the fact that Liverpool had signed one of the world's most exciting defenders.

However, that world-record price tag is now looking like an absolute bargain and Van Dijk has been integral in the club's most impressive season under Jurgen Klopp.

Van Dijk showed his class throughout the campaign, is now considered the world's best centre-back and became the first defender to win the PFA Player of the Year award in over a decade.

As a result, it will come as little surprise that Van Dijk was found in WhoScored.com's Premier League Team of the Season based on statistics.

Superb season for Van Dijk

The football website draws on a vast number of data sets to award each player a match rating, which is then averaged out over the season to compile the best statistical starting XI.

The 2018-19 team went as follows: Lukasz Fabianski, Ricardo Pereira, Van Dijk, Fabian Schar, Lucas Digne, Raheem Sterling, Paul Pogba, Fernandinho, Eden Hazard, Mohamed Salah and Sergio Aguero.

As far as the Liverpool star is concerned, he was awarded an average match rating of 7.4 but how does that actually compare to previous Premier League seasons?

Newcastle United v Liverpool FC - Premier League

Statistical comparison

Well, despite topping all of his peers this season, it's surprisingly average amongst top-performing centre-backs in England over the last decade.

In fact, Van Dijk was actually deemed to have had a better statistical season in 2015-16, finishing the campaign with a 7.6 rating at Southampton.

The stats even show that Phil Jones (2014-15) and Chico Flores (2012-13) are amongst some of the unlikely candidates to have produced 'better' seasons.

Take a look at England's finest defenders - per statistics - over the last X years:

2018-19: Virgil van Dijk (7.4) and Fabian Schar (7.3)

2017-18: Shkodran Mustafi (7.4) and James Tomkins (7.3)

2016-17: Nicolas Otamendi (7.6) and Virgil van Dijk (7.4)

2015/16: Virgil van Dijk (7.6) and Laurent Koscielny (7.5)

2014/15: Phil Jones (7.5) and Laurent Koscielny (7.4)

2013/14: Martin Skrtel (7.5) and Curtis Davies (7.4)

2013/13: Jan Vertonghen (7.6) and Chico Flores (7.5)

There are some surprising names in the list to say the very least and it underlines exactly why we can't completely judge awards on statistics alone.

Besides, it doesn't get much more extensive than this with over 38 games taken into consideration and almost 50 individual date types.

Yet, it hasn't fairly represented just how brilliantly Van Dijk has been this season and we can subjectively say that, surely, he outperformed Flores' time at Swansea. 

FBL-ENG-PR-TOTTENHAM-MAN UTD

The data hasn't been completely unfair to the Liverpool man, though, who has made the team on three of the four seasons he's spent south of the Scottish border.

He's also statistically the Premier League's finest centre-back of the last six years, even if he surprisingly shares that title with Otamendi and Vertonghen.

Do you think Van Dijk is the best defender in the world? Have your say in the comments section below.

Topics:
Football
Virgil van Dijk
Nicolas Otamendi
England Football
Premier League
Shkodran Mustafi
Phil Jones
Curtis Davies
Liverpool

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