Virgil van Dijk Lays foundation for Liverpool’s Title

Vastavam web: Liverpool’s attacking power kick-started their challenge for a first English title in 29 years, but with the finish line in sight, the focus is on a rock-solid defence led by Virgil van Dijk as Burnley visit Anfield on Sunday. The arrival of Van Dijk in Pound 75 million ( 97 million) transfer from Southampton was met with scepticism in some quarters 15 months ago, but the Dutch star’s imperious form quickly quietened such concerns. This season, in particular, the durable centre-half Liverpool’s only outfield ever-present in the Premier League — has been particularly outstanding.

His high-level displays have been crucial for Liverpool in recent weeks as his attacking team-mates have, by their previous standards, failed to hit the heights of months gone by. The Merseyside derby saw van Dijk in formidable form, an indication of his importance to the team as the forward line of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino struggled for form. Van Dijk, 27, is a pivotal figure for Liverpool as they prepare for the Burnley fixture.

Liverpool’s defence has struggled with injuries to key personnel, aside from van Dijk this season, with the loss of Joe Gomez, coincidentally against Burnley when his side won 3-1 at the start of December, a particular loss. The young England international had emerged as an important figure in Klopp’s back four prior to suffering a fractured leg, although the fact he returned to running in training on Thursday suggests he could be in contention for the meeting with Tottenham at the end of the month.