Virgil van Dijk joined Liverpool in January for a world-record £75m (Picture: Getty)Gary Neville has compared Virgil van Dijk to Manchester United hero Jaap Stam and says the Liverpool defender is a ‘monster’.
Netherlands international Van Dijk became the most expensive defender in history last winter after joining Liverpool for a fee of £75million from Southampton.
Van Dijk was quick to adjust to his new surroundings at Anfield, playing a key role as Jurgen Klopp’s side reached the Champions League final.
The 27-year-old also impressed in Liverpool’s Premier League victory over West Ham on Sunday as the Reds started the 2018-19 campaign with a 4-0 thrashing.
Neville says Van Dijk has made a huge impact at Liverpool and says the centre-back is beginning to remind him of Dutch legend Stam, who won three Premier League titles with Manchester United.
Speaking on the Gary Neville Podcast for Sky Sports, he said: ‘I thought Van Dijk was a good player at Southampton, but I didn’t think he was worth £75m.
‘I also didn’t think he would have the impact on Liverpool’s defence that he’s had.
Van Dijk helped Liverpool beat West Ham 4-0 on Sunday (Picture: Getty)‘He’s a monster, and is looking a bit like Jaap Stam, which worries me as a Manchester United fan. It looks like he just throws people out of the way.
‘You look at that midfield, with Wijnaldum, Keita and Milner, with Henderson and Fabinho still to come in. There is some strength in depth there.
‘Can Liverpool reproduce that high-intensity football Saturday-Wednesday? And did they need another centre-forward in case Firmino is out?
‘Because I do think there is a big drop in intensity in their play when him or Salah are not playing.’
Gary Neville has heaped praise on Van Dijk and Liverpool (Picture: Getty)Having bolstered Klopp’s squad with five key signings over the summer, Liverpool are expected to challenge Manchester City for the title this season.
They finished fourth during the last campaign, 25 points behind Pep Guardiola’s rampant champions.
‘I think Liverpool are the side [City] will feel threatened by directly,’ Neville added. ‘Certainly in terms of the style of play, Liverpool have certainly got the measure of Manchester City. You can see that.
‘City like to push up the pitch, the centre-backs play high and even push in when they’re attacking. The likes of Mane, Salah, Firmino, if you leave space in-behind, they just cut right through you.
‘I think directly there is a threat, and I think indirectly in terms of the bigger picture in the league, certainly with the signings they have made, the good feeling of getting into a Champions League final and finishing in the top four consecutive seasons is something where City will feel a threat.
‘People are not feeling that way about Manchester United or Tottenham or Chelsea at this moment in time, because of what has happened in pre-season.
‘But there does seem to be a definite threat from Liverpool at this moment in time, but Liverpool will have to prove that.’
Liverpool travel to south London on Monday evening to face Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace.
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