Can Van Dijk make the difference for Liverpool in Europe?
Liverpool may be 16/1 outsiders to win the Champions League, but their attack can cause problems for any side.
It’s their weakness at the back that could damage them against top-class opposition. They can be too open and make too many errors, which undoes all the good work further forward.
But Jurgen Klopp will hope that Virgil van Dijk can change that.
One slip-up can lead to elimination when the Champions League knockout stages start. And the new £75m signing has the quality and presence to take command of the backline now.
The Reds face Porto on Wednesday in the first leg of their last-16 tie. They’re 5/4 favourites to leave Portugal with a lead.
But Porto have kept five clean sheets in their last six games. That means chances may be hard to come by, even for Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino.
First legs tend to be cagey and Liverpool will need to be solid at the back so they can make the most of home advantage in the return leg.
These are the occasions that Van Dijk was brought in for. He’s a formidable presence, reads the game well and he can start attacks with pinpoint passes.
There are still question marks over his central defensive partners and the goalkeepers, but Liverpool now have the foundations of a solid defence in the world’s most expensive defender.
Will he alone be good enough to take them deep into the competition? We’ll soon find out.
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