No player has completed a dribble past Virgil van Dijk in his last 64 Liverpool appearances

Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool - UEFA Champions League Final

Has a signing ever made more of an impact on a team than Virgil van Dijk has?

The centre-back arrived at Liverpool in January 2018 and immediately set about turning the Reds’ defence from a weak point to one of the strongest in Europe.

Liverpool had the best defence in the Premier League this season, conceding just 22 times.

And although they missed out on the title, their victory in the Champions League final makes up for that.

Mohamed Salah, Alisson Becker and Trent Alexander-Arnold all played a huge part in their success, but none have been more important than Van Dijk.

"You could write a book about his skills, his strengths, how much I like him, what a fantastic person he is," Jurgen Klopp said in March, per Sky Sports.

So good has Van Dijk been this season that he had to respond to questions about winning the Ballon d’Or in his press conference after Liverpool’s win over Tottenham.


Van Dijk's incredible stat

The 27-year-old doesn’t believe he should win the award - “Messi is the best player in the world, I think he deserves it,” Van Dijk said - but there are many who think he would be a rightful winner.

And one stat highlights just how dominant Van Dijk has been at the heat of Liverpool’s defence.

Per Opta, no opposition player has dribbled past Van Dijk in any of his last 64 appearances in all competitions for Liverpool.

That means he went the entire 2018-19 campaign without being beaten. Incredible.

The winner of the Ballon d’Or has come from a player who has won the Champions League in the same calendar year every year since 2013.

So, while Van Dijk is backing Messi, don’t be surprised if tradition is followed once again this year.

He’s already won the PFA Player of the Year award. The Ballon d’Or would be the cherry on top.

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