In Virgil van Dijk, Liverpool have found a player that is “John Terry, Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic all rolled into one”, says Jamie Redknapp, with the Dutchman potentially the best Premier League defender of all time.
The Reds invested £75 million ($95m) in the Netherlands international back in January, making him the costliest player in his chosen position.
While breaking transfer records can be considered a gamble, those at Anfield have seen their show of faith richly rewarded.
Van Dijk is considered to have contributed significantly to Liverpool becoming Premier League title contenders, with there few obvious weaknesses in his game.
Former Reds star Redknapp believes the 27-year-old is the finest all-round defender he has ever seen, telling the Daily Mail: “We are only halfway through the season but already nobody comes close to Virgil van Dijk in the race for Player of the Year. He is the one player every team would love to have in their side.
“Think of the best defenders in Premier League history — John Terry, Rio Ferdinandand Nemanja Vidic. Van Dijk is all three players rolled into one.
“He reads the game like Terry and is a lovely passer, getting the ball out of his feet and spraying 30-yard balls. Van Dijk is blessed with the pace of Rio, too. Rarely do you see him caught out in a one-v-one situation.
“While he is not as aggressive as Vidic, he has that same warrior spirit and will to win. He is calm, cool, composed in the air and is a brilliant leader.”
Redknapp added on Van Dijk’s potential to cement legend status while landing major honours: “Never mind player of the season — if he carries on playing at this level, he has all the attributes to be the Premier League's greatest ever defender. I am just surprised that it has taken until now for him to be starring in a team competing for Premier League titles.
“To become the greatest, Van Dijk has to win trophies. He reached the Champions League final last season and now has a great chance of winning the Premier League.
“If Liverpool are to be crowned champions this season, Van Dijk is the one player they can least afford to lose to injury.”
Van Dijk has been an ever-present for Liverpool in the Premier League this season, helping them to cement a standing at the top of the table.
Jurgen Klopp’s side, who remain unbeaten through 18 games, have opened up a four-point lead on reigning champions Manchester City.