'Undroppable' Dias has had same impact at Man City as Van Dijk at Liverpool, says Guardiola

Dias van dijk split
The Portuguese international has helped to transform the defence following his move from Benfica at the start of the season

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola says the impact made by Ruben Dias is similar to the one that Virgil van Dijk had at Liverpool when he helped transform the Reds into title contenders and, ultimately, champions.

The Portuguese defender moved to the Etihad in September in a £62 million ($79m) switch from Benfica and has helped City climb to the top of the Premier League.

City have conceded just 10 goals in the 28 games since his arrival and kept 19 clean sheets in all competition.

"Yes, absolutely," Guardiola said when asked if his arrival can be compared to that of the Dutch defender at Anfield. "So far, how he's settled immediately, in terms of mentality and he's a guy who lives 24 hours for his profession.

"Every step he does, at home, on or off the pitch, eating, sleeping, recovering time, preparation time, everything is to be perfect during this 95-minute football game. That's why."

Unfortunately for Liverpool, Van Dijk has been out since injuring his knee ligaments in October with Jurgen Klopp admitting it would be a miracle if he was to play again this season.

Dias, meanwhile, has been indispensable for City, playing every minute in the Premier League since his move and Guardiola says it is difficult to leave him out.

"He’s not just a player who plays good, he's a player who makes the other guys play good too," the City boss added.

"It’s 90 minutes talking, 90 minutes communicating, 90 minutes saying what they have to do in every single action. When that happens, it's difficult for me and he's undroppable.

"It's quite similar like Eric [Garcia], Eric has this mentality to play 90 minutes talk, lead the other ones.

"Hopefully the other central defenders - John [Stones], Aymeric [Laporte], Nathan [Ake] - can learn and not just play for themselves and what they have to do, see what happens close to them. That’s why it’s a football game as a team, not just individuals."

Dias has struck up a strong partnership with Stones with City conceding just one goal in 12 matches when the duo have started together.

The England international's future at City looked uncertain when he struggled for form and fitness last season but Guardiola says the defender has been more relaxed this season.

"What I want from my players - all of them, not just John, is to be happy," he added. "He struggled to be happy here - especially with injuries, some personal problems, for many reasons, a lack of minutes. I didn’t see him like he is right now.

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"In the past he was not like he is now, with the stability, the mentality, happiness, commitment focusing and everything.

"Of course in that moment, everything happened but that's why I give a lot of credit to him. He overcame this situation himself.

"He could have fallen down and go even more down, but it was completely the opposite. He said 'no, I'm here, I know how good I am'."