Virgil van Dijk is “one of the best players in the world”, says Jamie Carragher, with the Liverpool defender forming part of the global elite that “could play for any side”.
A Netherlands international centre-half has seen his stock rise considerably since completing a £75 million ($93m) move to Anfield in the January window of 2018.
Eyebrows were raised when Jurgen Klopp put a record-breaking deal in place for the commanding Dutchman.
An immediate return has been offered, though, on a sizeable investment of funds and faith.
Van Dijk was named UEFA Player of the Year in 2019, while also finishing as runner-up to Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi in the Ballon d’Or vote.
Remarkable standards have been maintained in the current campaign, with Liverpool on the brink of Premier League title glory, and Carragher admits the Reds now boast one of the finest talents on the planet.
He told The Telegraph: “Quite simply, one of the best players in the world.
“Since moving to Liverpool, Van Dijk has been elevated into that sphere of players who could play for any side.
“He is so good, sometimes it feels he is taken for granted. Whenever the player of the year is debated, it is strange how few pundits put him forward. He has been as influential this season as he was last year.”
Van Dijk has earned plenty of plaudits again this season, with Liverpool’s record-setting form seeing them showered with praise for much of 2019-20.
Club captain Jordan Henderson is another to have starred for Klopp’s side, with the England international seeing his impressive consistency and value to the Reds cause recognised.
Carragher added on the 29-year-old midfielder: “I have to say I am delighted but a little baffled that Jordan Henderson is getting more praise this season than in previous years.
“I think that probably says more about those suggesting he has massively improved rather than the player himself because - as I am sure Jurgen Klopp will testify - his consistent excellence as captain has been fundamental to Liverpool’s return to the top.
“What is most impressive this season is the manner in which Henderson switched midfield roles.
“Until December, Fabinho was Liverpool’s best player and his injury could have been a critical moment in the title race. Instead, Henderson assumed the number six position and performed brilliantly. Maybe that is why more people have noticed his importance recently.”