Virgil van Dijk has named Liverpool teammate Roberto Firmino as the greatest he’s played alongside.
The 28-year-old Dutch central defender is enjoying a third season at Liverpool having joined from Southampton in January 2018.
What makes Firmino so important to Liverpool? Five key things to know…
- Firmino joined Liverpool from Hoffenheim in July 2015 for £29m.
- He has scored 67 goals across 196 appearances while creating a further 49.
- Firmino has created at least 35 more Premier League chances than any Liverpool player in the last three seasons (178 total).
- He has also made more tackles than any forward in the whole competition during this time (153).
- So far Van Dijk and the Brazilian have played alongside each other 71 times, even combining for two goals (both scored by Firmino).
On arrival he became the world’s most expensive defender, with the Saints receiving £75m for his signature. However, that record has since gone to Harry Maguire, who completed a £80m move from Leicester City to Man Utd this summer.
To say his signing has paid dividends is an understatement. The Reds’ defensive form has ben transformed with Van Dijk steadying the ship, and his performances in the 2018/19 season earned him the PFA Players’ Player of the Year award while Alisson picked up the Golden Gloves.
Football being a team sport, Van Dijk has often put the collective ahead of his own interest, but that hasn’t stopped him from picking one teammate when asked who the best he’s played with.
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“I’m going to be a little bit biased and say one of my team-mates; I would say Roberto Firmino,” he told talkSPORT.
Last season the Brazillian false nine registered just 12 league goals, ten short of his forward partners Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, with Sergio Aguero – who Van Dijk revealed as the most difficult striker he has found to mark in the Premier League – just a goal behind the Golden Boot winners.