Liverpool’s manager, Jurgen Klopp, has a plethora of Liverpool stars that can wield ‘magical wonders’ with creative ability but one man might have flown under the radar in the creative stakes. Luckily stats don’t lie
Welcome Virgil van Dijk, the king of the defence, the conqueror of England, Europe and the world at large. The ‘big Virgil’ is well known for his bullish attitude on the field and his tenacity to handle strikers at a time. How he does that and still stays fit to be ever present in all the matches in two consecutive seasons is ‘out of this world’.
He is vocal, the aerial prowess, leadership, pace and power he consistently displays while defending to a world-class standard and bringing an air of total calmness to the game and upping the level of those around him is something to behold.
Across the 2019/20 Premier League season, the defender comfortably made more passes than any other player in the top flight.
He finished a sum of 3,253 passes over the battle – more than 85 in each and every match – and to place that into better perspective, it was Manchester City midfielder Rodri who finished the second most passes of any player with 2,580.
205 of Van Dijk’s passes were classed as precise long balls and, however he just enrolled one help this term – with a magnificent through ball to Sadio Mane against Bournemouth, the entries of play he makes are frequently the impetus to get Liverpool on the front foot and transform safeguard into assault in a matter of seconds.
What additionally should be noted here is that Van Dijk had the second most bits of the ball over the season with 3,622 and just the Reds’ loved playmaker Trent Alexander-Arnold had more with 3,664.
The centre-back features at the top of both lists for which player made the most passes and who had the most touches last term, which shows simply that he isn’t just passing the ball away at any given opportunity but making measured decisions with the ball at his feet.
You might not consider Van Dijk to be one of Liverpool’s main creative playmakers but it’s obvious from the numbers alone that he is someone very comfortable on the ball who is willing to try and consistently make things tick for the Premier League champions and get the team moving.
Klopp reacted to van Dijk’s goal and performance against Newcastle sums it up. He said: “He’s really nice to have. We knew when we signed him we’d get a really good player, but the package is so special, and we had no idea about that. That makes him really, really exciting.
“He takes his breaks in the games from time to time, which drives me crazy.
“But I get it, I get it. It was his big target, I think, that he could do that again. Hopefully that will be possible for the rest of his career. That would be absolutely special.
“We’ve tried to rest him but it’s difficult. So far, it’s gone well, and we hope it stays like this, but now he has two weeks off as well, so he doesn’t need more, I’m sure.”
Here is a breakdown of the most touches and passes according to liverpoolecho
Most touches in the Premier League 2019/20 season
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 3,664
Virgil van Dijk – 3,622
César Azpiliceuta – 3,416
Andy Robertson 3,373
Harry Maguire – 2,973
Most passes in the Premier League 2019/20 season
Virgil van Dijk – 3,253
Rodri – 2,580
Harry Maguire – 2,518
Jonny Evans – 2,491
Andy Robertson – 2,490