If playing against Virgil van Dijk wasn’t hard enough, Richarlison has ensured the Dutchman will be trying even harder during the Merseyside derby.
The Everton striker decided to play down suggestions that Van Dijk was the best defender in the world and claimed there were three centre-backs better than 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,” the Brazilian said.
“Thiago Silva, Marquinhos and Sergio Ramos,” he replied when asked to name who.
Richarlison also claimed that he had even dribbled past Van Dijk - something that players find it incredibly hard to do.
“People talk a lot about him, yes he is a great defender but I’ve already dribbled past him,” he claimed.
But it seems Richarlison was lying.
That’s because Squawka have actually revealed the eight players who have managed the feat - and Richarlison doesn’t feature.
In fact, only Alexandre Lacazette, Mikel Merino, Nicolas Pepe, Jay Rodriguez, Bernardo Silva, Dele Alli, Rúben Neves, Moussa Djenepo have successfully dribbled past Van Dijk since the 2017/18 season.
How can a defender hold such an impressive record of not being beaten though?
Well, Van Dijk explained that it goes back to his childhood.
"I have had the benefit of a lot of one-v-ones by playing a lot on the streets,” Van Dijk revealed. I played in a lot of five-a-side games when I was younger and I loved to attack in those days as well, so you got a bit of a feeling how attackers might think in certain situations.
"Obviously that comes with experience in my professional career too, but I think if you want to progress as a defender or an attacker then just keep playing in the streets with your friends."
It will be interesting to see if Richarlison can actually dribble past Van Dijk this evening…
- Liverpool fans are reminding Richarlison about Nat Phillips after his Van Dijk comments
- Richarlison names three defenders 'better' than Virgil van Dijk
- Spurs would have signed Virgil van Dijk if Toby Alderweireld deal fell through