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‘Van Dijk is the kingpin at Liverpool’ - £75m star is ‘key to success’, says Wright

3:48 PM GMT+8 05/07/2019
Virgil van Dijk Liverpool 2018-19
The ex-Reds centre-half is a big fan of a man currently filling that role, with a Dutch defender considered to be integral to future plans at Anfield

Virgil van Dijk is “the kingpin” at Anfield, says Mark Wright, with a £75 million ($94m) centre-half “key to Liverpool’s success”.

A former Reds defender is not the first to suggest that a Netherlands international has become a talismanic presence on Merseyside.

Jurgen Klopp moved to put a record-breaking transfer in place during the winter window of 2018 .

The faith shown in Van Dijk has been richly rewarded, with the 27-year-old now PFA Player of the Year and a Champions League winner .

He is widely regarded as the finest exponent of his chosen position in world football, with Wright among those to have talked up his obvious qualities and value to Liverpool.

A man who spent seven years with the Reds between 1991 and 1998 told Sky Sports : “You can talk about his ability in possession and, yes, he can head the ball, he is quick and he can do all the other bits and pieces as well.

“But you don't come to Liverpool unless you can do those things. The biggest thing that has impressed me is what I see from him when the ball is at the other end of the pitch.

"He dictates. He makes sure people fill those pockets where previously Liverpool were being hurt on the counter-attack. He makes sure others are aware.

“It's that organisation of others that has made the biggest difference because there aren't a lot of leaders around but he can do that. Nobody is going to argue with him because Virgil is the kingpin.

“I see him as the key to Liverpool's success. He is an exceptional player and I really cannot believe it wasn't more of a battle to get him because there is a dearth of top centre-halves around.

“Look around. Name the top five in the Premier League and I think you would struggle to come up with five. Virgil stands out like a sore thumb, to be honest with you.”

Van Dijk has contributed significantly to Liverpool becoming European champions and serious contenders for the Premier League title.

Wright believes there will be more success to come for the Reds after seeing Klopp break his trophy duck in English football.

The ex-England international added: “I hope this is the start of something.

“They are already feared. Teams don't want to play against them. That is where they are now. Liverpool and Manchester City are where everyone else wants to be.

“I think they need maybe two good players this summer and that would be enough. Maybe a centre-forward who could change the play if they needed to.

“But who am I to say anything to Jurgen Klopp? He is the manager and he knows exactly what he is doing.

“I am the same as the Liverpool supporters worldwide, I trust in him. If he doesn't want to buy anyone then that means there aren't the right players out there.”