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Tuesday 16
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Liverpool

Klopp hails Van Dijk progress

5th April 2019, 08:12 by Alex Jack

Virgil van Dijk's attributes on and off the pitch have made Liverpool better but he's still improving, according to Jurgen Klopp.

The Holland captain has made a huge difference to the side's defensive capabilities, with 17 Premier League clean sheets contributing to just 19 goals conceded in 32 matches this season.

Since he arrived in January 2018 in a £75million deal, Van Dijk has racked up a total of 28 clean sheets in all competitions and his composure and calming presence has had a noticeable effect on the players around him.

Van Dijk is seen by many as a Liverpool captain in waiting - he has already worn the armband a number of times on a temporary basis - and Klopp recognised the impact the world's most expensive defender has had.

"Yes he improved us, and I think he has improved as well since he is here," said Klopp ahead of Van Dijk's return to former club Southampton on Friday.

"That's what you expect and what you hope for. If a player comes in you hope he makes the whole team better.

"That's how good players are, and he's obviously a very good player.

"He's so important for us, not only as a player but as a person as well. I couldn't say a bad word about him even if I wanted to.

"He's a different player to the one he was at Southampton. He was good there, really good, but with all the different games he's played now, and being part of the Champions League quarter-final, semi-final, final, all that stuff, that all helps you as a player.

"And for a centre-half he is still young, there is still a lot to come. Hopefully he can stay healthy and everything will be fine."

This article originated on sportinastorm.com

Alex Jack is a Yorkshireman with Scottish connections and well versed in a number of sports. A Leeds United supporter, who also enjoys both codes of rugby. Leeds Rhinos is where you can find him in the summer, while Alex is an avid supporter of Scottish rugby union.

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