Martin Keown says Virgil van Dijk is the best defender in Premier League history

Leicester City v Liverpool FC - Premier League

30 years since winning their last league title, Liverpool seem set to win their first Premier League crown at a canter this season.

Going into this weekend's set of fixtures, the Reds sit 13 points clear of nearest challengers Leicester and 14 points ahead of champions Manchester City - with a game in hand on both.

There has been no doubting Liverpool's attacking talent over the last few years but it had been their defensive frailties that had prevented them from mounting a serious title challenge until last season.

The goalkeeping position had been a major part of that, but the signing of Alisson went a long way to rectifying it.

Arguably an even more important signing though was that of Virgil van Dijk.

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Whilst he is undoubtedly a quality player, Liverpool also now have a leader at the heart of the defense who marshals the back four superbly.

And as they head to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium this evening, the team looks incomparable to the one that was dismantled 4-1 by Spurs in the same fixture in 2017.

And it's hard to see the same outcome happening tonight unless Jose Mourinho can conjure something up from a team low on confidence and missing talisman Harry Kane.

As we finished 2019, there was much debate around the team and players of the decade. It was dominated by the two Manchester clubs and Chelsea, but it looks as though Liverpool are set up to change that landscape in the next 10 years.

Van Dijk has been putting in outstanding performances since arriving at Anfield in 2018, winning the Champions League against Spurs in May before adding Super Cup and Club World Cup titles to his trophy haul this season.

He also finished as runner-up to Lionel Messi in the race for the 2019 Ballon d'Or.

Speaking to talkSPORT, former Arsenal Invincibles defender Martin Keown believes that Van Dijk is now up there as the best ever Premier defender.

“I think he has to be” he told host Jim White.

“It’s almost perfection to watch him play.

“He was up in Scotland and nobody really wanted him. He went to Southampton but anyone could have taken it. He seemed to be a player who was perhaps slow to mature, but now he’s there and he wants to win things, and he’s very much behind all of that [for Liverpool].

“Man City jumped out of that, they didn’t want to pay the big money to sign him but, what was it, £75million? That now looks fantastic value.

“It’s the right time and the right moment for him.

“I think with Joel Matip, Dejan Lovren and Joe Gomez, Liverpool have got the best four central defenders [in the Premier League].

“And if you’re the person playing alongside Van Dijk, he just gives you so much reassurance.”

The likes of Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand, Vincent Kompany and John Terry would all be in the conversation for the best defender in Premier League history too, and all four won the title, which the Dutchman is yet to do.

But it seems that will change this season, and will only add to Van Dijk's claim to be recognised as the greatest defender of them all.

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