Leading Liverpool and untouchable one-on-one - Van Dijk in Opta numbers

Virgil Van Dijk

Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk and compatriot Vivianne Miedema pulled off an unprecedented double at the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) awards Sunday, becoming the first winners of both the men's and women's Player of the Year awards to hail from the same country.

'It's time to focus on Barcelona and then we have a big game at Newcastle as well.' While Messi secured a tenth La Liga title at the weekend, Van Dijk became only the fourth defender - after Gary Pallister, Paul McGrath and John Terry - to win the PFA award. The trophy has extremely long legs, similar to those of the former England striker.

The tweet spread like wildfire gaining 23 000 retweets and 147 000 likes. The defender is now the captain of Holland and at £75m the player still seems like a bargain for Liverpool.

"We defend all together and we attack all together as well, so we will see, we will be ready".

"If you see the shortlist, what kind of quality there is, it's very special, obviously, that players in the league voted for me".

"I think he is the best player in the world, I have said that before", Van Dijk continued.

Van Dijk moved to Groningen in 2010 where he progressed through the ranks as a youth team player before going on to make 62 appearances for the first team.

Van Dijk will come up against the five-time Ballon d'Or victor when Liverpool travel to Barcelona for the first leg of their Champions League semi-final on Tuesday.

Only two defenders have previously won the award and the Dutchman added: "If you see the standard of strikers or playmakers we have in the league, it's unbelievable". It is going to be unbelievably tough.

The team have also conceded 26 goals less (30, rather than 56) and on average go 150 minutes without conceding, compared to an average of 80 minutes, before he arrived.

"We are going to try everything to go through to the final".

Jurgen Klopp's side are also in contention for the Premier League title as they are just one point behind rivals Manchester City.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has joked that he has been exclusively responsible for Virgil van Dijk's impressive impact at Anfield. "I think I just need to not look too far ahead".

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