‘He's the best in the world’ - Van Dijk compared to Ramos and Ferdinand by former Liverpool star

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The Netherlands international's ability to read the game puts him in a class of his own, says the retired striker

Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk is the best centre-back in the world, according to Stan Collymore, and has been compared to Rio Ferdinand and Sergio Ramos by the former Reds striker.

Van Dijk has had a significant influence at the back for Liverpool this term and has helped turn the Reds into the best defensive side in the Premier League.

Jurgen Klopp's men have conceded just 15 league goals this term and kept a clean sheet against Bayern Munich in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie, although some claimed the Bavarians sat back in that game.

“Van Dijk reads the game better than any other defender in the Premier League and is a bit old-school in that respect,” Collymore wrote in the Mirror.

“I’d put him in the Rio Ferdinand bracket when it comes to his reading of situations — he sees the danger, acknowledges the danger and has the physicality and athleticism to be able to deal with it.

“Some players can read the game but don’t have the pace and some have the pace but not the instinct. He has the lot and on top of that he exudes a calmness that rubs off on the rest of his side’s back four.

“I see in Van Dijk someone who is unflustered and will go on, either with Liverpool or another club, to win many, many titles.

“And by the time he hangs up his boots, we could be talking about him in the same venerable tones as Sergio Ramos if he gets the chance to win as many titles either at Liverpool or elsewhere.”

The Dutch international became the world's most expensive defender when Liverpool paid £75 million to sign him from Southampton in January 2018, but Collymore thinks that now looks a bargain price.

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“Van Dijk has to be worth at least £175m of anybody’s money and, while it’s easy to throw around statements such as ‘best in the world’, I really believe he is," the former striker added.

The centre-back could still lift the Premier League and the Champions League this season with Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson having said the Reds are targetting both titles.

They need either a win or a scoring draw when they travel to Bavaria next week if they are to make it through to the quarter-finals of Europe's elite club competition.