Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk superbly headed the ball to himself during Brighton win

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Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk is the best defender in the world right now.

The Reds romped their way to a 3-1 victory against Brighton & Hove Albion on Wednesday night despite a spirited display from the Seagulls and Van Dijk was one of the visitors' star performers.

In fact, you could probably argue that Van Dijk would have won the Man of the Match award if it wasn't for the fact Mohamed Salah scored twice and bagged an assist.

Brighton 1-3 Liverpool

The Egyptian fired Liverpool into the lead after just six minutes thanks to some brilliant pressing from Naby Keita, before Jordan Henderson made it 2-0 with a fine curling effort.

Sadly for Van Dijk, though, there wasn't to be a clean sheet for his and Alisson's record as Brighton pulled a goal back before half-time courtesy of a superb volley from Leandro Trossard.

But it didn't prove costly for the incumbent champions as Salah put the game beyond reach after the break, popping up with a rare header after connecting with Andrew Robertson's corner.

Van Dijk shines vs Brighton

So, sure, the scoreline might not suggest a vintage defensive performance, but anyone who watched the whole 90 minutes knows that birthday boy Van Dijk was at the top of his game.

The Dutchman maintained a passing accuracy of 93%, made eight clearances, two interceptions, four long balls, created a chance, blocked a shot and won six out of eight aerial duels.

Again, though, we're still not happy settling for the surface level stats and instead we're going to focus on a small moment from Van Dijk that sums up what his game is all about.

Van Dijk's header to himself

In the 72nd minute, Van Dijk was forced to put his afterburners on when Brighton played a long ball over the top towards Aaron Connolly, who isn't the slowest of players by any means.

But not only did Van Dijk win the footrace without breaking a sweat, he completed one of the smoothest turns you'll see all season by heading the ball... to himself.

That's right, he didn't clear the ball or even pass it, he allowed it to cushion off his head, so he could spin Connolly and crack on with the phase of play himself. Check out the moment down below:

Now that is smooooooooooooth.

Unsurprisingly, Liverpool fans have been lapping up the moment across social media and using it as proof that Van Dijk is one of the best ball-playing defenders in the business.

It's not quite Cristiano Ronaldo allowing the ball to hit his back to spin defenders, but we'll let off the Liverpool man seeing as he is a centre-back, after all. 

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That being said, Celtic fans will know that Van Dijk has plenty of skills in his locker that you wouldn't expect from a centre-half, including stunning free-kicks and solo goals of the season.

In amongst the bangs, crashes and wallops of the Premier League, though, we're sure Liverpool's star defender will settle for his new party trick.

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