Richarlison has caused a stir with his comments about Virgil van Dijk ahead of Everton’s Premier League clash against Liverpool this weekend.
Van Dijk is regarded by many football fans as the best defender in the world right now, but he doesn’t even make Richarlison’s top three.
"People talk a lot about him [Van Dijk], yes he is a great defender but I’ve already dribbled past him," the Brazilian forward told Desimpedidos, per The Mirror.
"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."
Richarlison, when asked to name the three defenders he believes are better than Van Dijk, answered: "Thiago Silva, Marquinhos and Sergio Ramos."
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Richarlison’s comments have, unsurprisingly, led to a backlash from Liverpool fans on social media.
And many of them have reacted by reminding Everton’s No. 7: ‘never mind Van Dijk, you struggled against Nathaniel Phillips back in January’.
Phillips made his debut in Liverpool’s 1-0 FA Cup third-round victory over the Toffees at the start of the year. The centre-back, who turned 23 in March, was effectively brought back from a loan spell with Stuttgart to play in the fixture.
Despite making nine changes to his starting line-up - handing several inexperienced players, including Phillips, a rare run-out - Jurgen Klopp’s side progressed to the next round thanks to Curtis Jones’ stunning winner.
Richarlison played the full 90 minutes but was unable to prevent his side from slumping to a 1-0 defeat.
And Liverpool fans have been quick to remind Everton’s star man that he got ‘pocketed’ by Phillips, the Reds’ ‘sixth-choice centre-back’, six months ago.
Check out some of the tweets below…
Days after January's Merseyside derby, Phillips was loaned back to Stuttgart for the remainder of the campaign.
Labelling Van Dijk as overrated days before going head-to-head against the formidable Dutchman is certainly a bold move by Richarlison.
And of the three supposedly superior defenders that he named, how many of them are actually better?
Sergio Ramos is still one of the world’s best centre-backs, but 35-year-old Thiago Silva is past his best - hence why PSG are letting the Brazilian leave at the end of the season.
Marquinhos, meanwhile, is yet to scale the same heights Van Dijk has in recent years.
It will be fascinating to see who comes out on top between Van Dijk and Richarlison at Goodison Park on Sunday.News Now - Sport News