Virgil van Dijk has received rave reviews from footballing icon Ronaldinho after his latest brilliance in a Liverpool shirt
The defender, 30, helped the Reds defeat Crystal Palace 3-1 on Sunday to keep the Premier League title race interesting after Manchester City dropped points at Southampton.
While Odsonne Edouard’s second-half strike meant there was no clean sheet for Van Dijk, he was involved at the other end of the pitch and gave Liverpool an early lead with a powerful header from a corner.
It was his second goal of the season and put the visitors on course for victory, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Fabinho also on the score sheet.
Van Dijk has been gradually working his way back to his best form after missing the vast majority of last season with an anterior cruciate ligament injury.
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He is indispensable for Jurgen Klopp and has played 90 minutes in all but two of Liverpool’s top-flight games this season, only missing out due to coronavirus.
Van Dijk’s dominant displays have not only impressed Premier League fans, but also those further afield including former Barcelona magician Ronaldinho.
Replying to the Dutchman’s Instagram post celebrating Liverpool’s victory, the Brazilian wrote: “You are fantastic, [you] play with elegance and command the defence like a maestro … congratulations!”
Ronaldinho clearly values Van Dijk’s ability to overpower attackers while also being a key asset for his team with possession.
The Netherlands captain likes to bring the ball out from the back and one of the key weapons in his arsenal is a pinged diagonal ball to Trent Alexander-Arnold on the right flank.
A glowing verdict from Ronaldinho – widely regarded as one of the most-gifted forwards to ever take to the pitch – would be enough to make any footballer blush, but it will have special meaning to Van Dijk.
The former Celtic and Southampton man previously picked out the World Cup winner as the best player of all time, telling talkSPORT : “Ronaldinho. He was one of my idols.”
Meanwhile, Van Dijk drew lavish praise from teammate Jordan Henderson, who also credited Andy Robertson for setting up the eighth-minute opener with his pinpoint delivery from the corner flag.
“A fantastic delivery by Robbo as well, which is important for us,” the Reds captain told Liverpoolfc.com.
“Set-plays have been big and if you give Virg a free header then nine times out of 10 he will put it in the back of the net, so it was a great header, a great delivery and that got us under way.”