Liverpool right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold believes opposition attackers are petrified of coming up against teammate Virgil van Dijk.
The Dutch defender has been the catalyst in the Reds’ European journey to the Champions League final, where they face Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday in Madrid.
Are attackers “scared” to face Van Dijk? Five key things to know…
- Signed from Southampton in January 2018, Van Dijk has revolutionised Liverpool’s defence.
- The Anfield club conceded the fewest number of PL goals (22) and kept the most clean sheets (21) last season.
- Van Dijk clinched the Premier League Player of the Season award for his efforts at the back.
- He became only the third defender in PL history to scoop the coveted accolade.
- Alexander-Arnold has now claimed opposition attackers are actually frightened to come up against the centre-back.
Since joining the club as the most expensive defender in the history of the game, Van Dijk has transformed Jurgen Klopp’s backline from leaky to watertight.
This season Liverpool kept the most clean sheets (21) and conceded the least number of goals (22), one fewer than champions Man City.
But Alexander-Arnold is not surprised, as he has revealed you can actually see the fear on the faces of opposition attackers when his towering teammate takes to the pitch.
Speaking to Liverpool Echo, he said: “When you see him walk out on to the pitch, you know within yourself that the attacker has got no chance against him.
“You can see that attackers are scared to go on his side. It means that strikers tend to pull out more on to my side more than the left! But it just goes to show what a presence he is.
“Virgil has basically played every minute of every game and I don’t think he’s put in a performance of less than eight out of 10 which is frightening.
“Hopefully he’ll keep up that form, keep picking up his individual awards and help us pick up some silverware along the way.”
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“Robertson the best left-back in the world”
It wasn’t just Van Dijk for whom Alexander-Arnold reserved special praise, as the young defender heaped plenty of plaudits on his full-back partner Andrew Robertson.
Both full-backs placed in the top two for most assists across Europe’s top five leagues among defenders (12 and 11 respectively), leading Alexander-Arnold to claim the Scotland captain is the best left-back in world football.
He added: “He’s competitive, he’s focused and he’s fully committed. It’s an amazing balance that he has and it works perfectly for him. Everyone is over the moon with how he’s progressed since he joined the club two years ago.
“It’s frightening to think how he’s kicked on from those early days when he was waiting patiently for a chance.
“He’s been so consistent this season, both defensively and in terms of what he offers going forward that he has to be regarded as the best left-back in the world.”