The £75m signing of Virgil van Dijk in January 2018 marked the turning point for Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool. After finishing fourth, Liverpool recorded in 2018/19 what was then the third-highest ever Premier League points tally before storming to their first title in 30 years in 2019/20. In both of Van Dijk’s first two full seasons, Liverpool had the best defence in the Premier League, and in that time he has established himself as the world’s best central defender.
“He’s special,” Klopp said of the player he made the world’s most expensive defender when buying him in his prime at the age of 26. “The combination of skills is absolutely special. His mindset on top of that is really special. We knew when we signed him that we would get a really good player, but the package is so special. We had no idea (quite how good he would be), and that makes it really, really exciting.”