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The Dutch farmer has recovered from a long-term injury and is already showing signs of being back at his best
Football is “just too easy” for Virgil van Dijk, says former Liverpool defender Mark Lawrenson, who believes that “Rolls-Royce” from a central defender also brings out the best in his defensive teammates.
Van Dijk is back in the heart of the Liverpool defense after recovering from a serious knee injury that caused him to miss most of last season.
The 30-year-old appears to be back in top form already after helping the Merseysiders to an unbeaten start to the campaign as they look set to regain the Premier League title from Manchester City.
What did Lawrenson say?
Lawrenson says Van Dijk’s play is comparable to that of his former Liverpool team-mate Alan Hansen, who won 25 honors during a glittering Anfield career in the 1970s and 1980s.
“The game is easy for him,” Lawrenson said From the ball. “It was like when Hansen played, it was just too easy.
“He never got his kit dirty, it was like ‘what’s your problem?’ when you would get covered in blood and snot and everything and he just walked away and basically gave his kit to the kit man and said he did not need to wash it this week.
“Everyone keeps telling about Van Dijk, and Hansen is the closest person I can think of to being comparable.”
Van Dijk has a ‘fantastic’ effect on Matip
Lawrenson also believes Van Dijk’s return has a positive impact on his central defensive partner Joel Matip, as the duo hold bare leaves in victories over Norwich and Burnley, before last weekend’s 1-1 draw against Chelsea.
Both players missed big chunks of last season due to injury and their absence is seen as one of the main reasons why the Reds could not retain their title.
“He’s a Rolls-Royce as a center-back,” added Lawrenson, who made 356 appearances for Liverpool between 1981 and 1988. “He also has a fantastic effect on Joel Matip. Matip is a much better player who plays with him as you would be, but what with Joel Matip when he plays with Van Dijk is that he comes out and plays.
“He comes out and joins the midfield and commits members of the opposition, which is really good.
“I do not think Matip particularly likes football, I do not think he really enjoys it, but it’s just something he’s really good at, but he’s really good when he has Van Dijk next to him. . “