‘Unbelievable’: De Bruyne names the player that has returned to Liverpool’s starting XI at ‘a really high level’

Kevin De Bruyne says Virgil van Dijk is one of the three best centre-backs in the world this season despite criticism the Dutchman has received lately.

Speaking to Rio Ferdinand on the former Manchester United star’s YouTube channel, van Dijk was named in De Bruyne’s dream five-a-side team.

Van Dijk one of the best alongside Ruben Dias, says Kevin De Bruyne

When asked how the Liverpool centre-back ranks in among the world’s toughest defenders, the Manchester City playmaker put him in the top 3 in the world.

“I think he’s up there,” replied De Bruyne.

Virgil van Dijk

“Obviously I know Virgil a little bit personally, but I think he was unbelievable before his injury and came back to a really high level.

“He’s probably top 3 in the world with Ruben (Dias) and some other players.”

Van Dijk still the best but ACL returns are not easy – deserves more slack

Lionel Messi is a victim of his own personal greatness and while van Dijk is and will never be anywhere as accomplished as the Argentine, he has been put on such a pedestal in the world of football that he doesn’t get recognition for good games. Only great ones.

However, just like the former Barcelona forward, his mistakes and shortcomings are quickly highlighted.

There’s no denying that van Dijk hasn’t been at his imperious best as consistently as we’d like this season but returning from an ACL tear is unlike any other injury and it has major consequences on players, both physically and mentally.

Virgil van Dijk

Sometimes it feels as though van Dijk doesn’t want to throw his body into a challenge for the fear of getting injured again and this means he has gone from looking nonchalant to looking tentative.

There seems to be a fine line between the two.

Liverpool need van Dijk to return to his absolute best to win silverware

Mohamed Salah, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Fabinho are the only players this season that have consistently played to world-class levels this season and in order for the Reds to win either the Premier League or the Champions League, they need van Dijk to return to his influential best.

The former Southampton colossus is capable of stamping his authority on matches with his physicality, pace and power and the travelling Kop will want to see that on show at Selhurst Park on Sunday when the Reds look to make it back to back wins in the Premier League with a victory against Patrick Vieira’s Eagles.

Michael Mongie
Football Central Media Group founder, owner and editor.

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