Players - Virgil Van Dijk

Virgil Van Dijk
Birthdate: 8 July 1991
Birthplace: Breda, Netherlands
Other clubs: Groningen (2010-13), Celtic (2013-15), Southampton (2015-18)
Bought from: Southampton
Signed for LFC: £75m, 01.01.2018
International debut: 10.10.2015 vs Kazakhstan
International caps: 33/4 (17/4 at LFC) - 16.11.2019
Liverpool debut: 05.01.2018
Last appearance: 19.01.2020
Debut goal: 05.01.2018
Last goal: 19.01.2020
Win ratio: 74.76% W:77 D:13 L:13
Games/goals ratio: 9.36
Honours: 2019 PFA Player of the Year, Champions League 2019, UEFA Player of the Year 2019, UEFA Defender of the Year 2019, European Super Cup 2019, FIFA Club World Cup 2019
Total games/goals opposite LFC: 6 / 0
LFC league games/goals: 74 / 8
Total LFC games/goals: 103 / 11

Player Profile

Virgil Van Dijk was born to a Dutch father and Surinamese mother in Breda, starting his youth football career with Willem II and then Groningen, making his full debut in May 2011. During his time at Groningen, he played in the Europa League and moved to Celtic in June 2013. He had a shaky start with them after breaking his foot in pre-season but went on to become a regular for the next two seasons, scoring fifteen goals in 115 games. However, after Celtic were eliminated from the Champions League qualifiers in the summer of 2015 he sought a fresh challenge and joined Southampton on transfer deadline day in a £13million deal. He missed only eleven minutes of action in his first season at St Mary's and made his Holland debut in October.

In January 2017 he was named club skipper but then suffered an ankle injury ruling him out for the rest of the season. During the close season in 2017, Liverpool were linked to Van Dijk who expressed a desire to move on, but in a dramatic development, the club issued a statement ending any interest in him, amid claims Southampton might be reporting them for false approaches. Strong, fast and a good organiser, Van Dijk was a reported target for several clubs but Southampton refused to sell him during that transfer window. Rather than sign an alternative, Liverpool remained patient and on 28th December it was announced that a £75million fee had been agreed for him to join on 2nd January. It was a world-record fee for a defender and Van Dijk became the most expensive player in Liverpool's history. "There is a dearth of top-class cent°re backs throughout world football hence why so many clubs wanted Van Dijk and the transfer fee is so high," Jamie Carragher explained on Sky Sports. If Van Dijk becomes Liverpool's new leader in the team's much-maligned defence he will definitely be worth this enormous fee. The first instalment of that was paid on his debut, when he headed a late winner against Everton in the FA Cup third round on 5th January. As the second half of the season went on, his calming and assuring presence was a major factor in Liverpool reaching the Champions League final. It was not just his ability, but his organisational skills that were crucial and by the summer, there were very few who thought the fee had been excessive. 

During 2018/19 Van Dijk surpassed the performances of his first half-season at Anfield. He started every Premier League game, being substituted just once and in the Champions League missed just one game through suspension. He got his first league goal at Wolves in December and scored the crucial second goal as Liverpool beat Bayern Munich 3-1 in the Allianz Arena in the Champions League round of sixteen. By then, fans were paying homage to him every game with a catchy song to the tune of "Dirty Old Town". He was deservedly named the PFA Player of the Year, having a helping hand in 21 clean sheets from 38 league games, as well as maintaining the unbelievable statistic of not being dribbled past all season. As a recognition of his and Liverpool's exploits in the Champions League, Van Dijk beat Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi to be voted UEFA Men's Player of the year for 2019, receiving 305 points compared to 207 for Messi and 74 for Ronaldo. He became the first defender to receive this honour since it was first presented to Messi in 2011.
Appearances per season
Season League FA LC Europe Other Total
Totals 74 2 0 25 2 103
2017-2018 14 2 0 6 0 22
2018-2019 38 0 0 12 0 50
2019-2020 22 0 0 7 2 31
A more detailed look at the player's appearances
Total Opponent
6 Manchester City
6 Tottenham
5 Chelsea
5 Everton
5 Manchester United
4 Southampton
4 Newcastle United
4 Brighton & Hove Albion
4 Leicester City
4 Napoli
4 Watford
4 Bournemouth
4 Crystal Palace
3 Porto
3 Burnley
3 Arsenal
3 Wolves
3 West Ham United
2 Fulham
2 WBA
2 Cardiff City
2 Sheffield United
2 Huddersfield Town
2 Roma
2 Paris St Germain
2 Salzburg
2 Genk
2 Red Star Belgrade
2 Barcelona
1 Real Madrid
1 Flamengo
1 Bayern Munich
1 Norwich City
1 Swansea City
1 Stoke City
1 Aston Villa
Total Started/substitutions
103 Started
2 On the bench
0 Substitute
1 Substituted
Total Competition
74 England Premier League
24 Champions League
2 FA Cup
1 Community Shield
1 European Super Cup
1 World Club Championship
Goals per season
Season League FA LC Europe Other Total
Totals 8 1 0 2 0 11
2017-2018 0 1 0 0 0 1
2018-2019 4 0 0 2 0 6
2019-2020 4 0 0 0 0 4
A more detailed look at the player's goalscoring
Total Started/substitutions
11 Started
0 Substitute
Total Competition
8 England Premier League
2 Champions League
1 FA Cup
Total Goal minute period
2 1-15 minutes
3 16-30 minutes
2 61-75 minutes
4 76-90 minutes
Total Open play/Penalty
11 Open play
Milestone Appearances
# Date Against Stadium Competition
1 05.01.2018 Everton Anfield FA Cup
50 12.01.2019 Brighton & Hove Albion AMEX Stadium League
100 29.12.2019 Wolves Anfield League
Milestone Goals
# Minute Date Against Stadium Competition
1 84 05.01.2018 Everton Anfield FA Cup
Related Articles
Virgil van Dijk puts in one of his finest performances this season

Liverpool Echo ratings on Liverpool - Salzburg on 10 December 2019.

Virgil van Dijk: ‘I’m never nervous. If you’re nervous, you limit your quality’

Sat 25 May 2019 in The Guardian.

The making of Virgil van Dijk: how Liverpool's rock became the world's best defender

This feature originally appeared in the January 2019 issue of FourFourTwo.

Gary Neville admits two Liverpool players made him eat his words

5 APRIL 2019.

How world's most expensive defender Virgil van Dijk overcame a life-threatening illness

By Adam Crafton for the Daily Mail. Published: 15:31 GMT, 29 March 2019.

Van Dijk immense as Reds prove to be the gift that keeps on giving

Liverpool Echo on Liverpool - Wolves on 21 December 2018.

Underwhelming point underlines progress but Arsenal regrets hard to ignore

By James Pearce in the Liverpool Echo on Arsenal - Liverpool on 3 NOV 2018.

Shrewd transfer business pays off

20 August 2018 on Crystal Palace - Liverpool.

The major change that put Virgil van Dijk on the road to Liverpool

By Paul Gorst at the Liverpool Echo on 24 OCT 2018.

Virgil van Dijk must regain his £75m form

By Chris Beesley on 28 December 2017.

Related Quotes

“Virgil van Dijk is the best centre-back Liverpool have had since Alan Hansen, but the 26-year-old Holland international is better in the air than Alan was. There’s an argument that signing him for £75m from Southampton and selling Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona for £142m has already made Jurgen Klopp’s side stronger. Van Dijk will make them more solid. I believed he would come down from Celtic and would be too casual and get caught out in England, but he’s made it look easy, the same way he did in Scotland. That’s a mark of how good he is. He’s never extended, never seems to be running flat out in a race with somebody, never seems to be using all his strength when nudging somebody off the ball and never seems to be under pressure when making passes. He always plays within himself, which is a great sign. He has always got another yard or gear to find, and that’s why he reminds me of Alan.”

Souness on Van Dijk in October 2018

“Van Dijk does not take up positions. He marks territories. Molineux is the latest venue for Liverpool’s centre-back to plant his victory flag, in doing so demonstrating why Jurgen Klopp can succeed where the club’s other recent title pacesetters failed. Many will look to Van Dijk’s goal against Wolves, Liverpool’s second,but it was the nonchalant shrug on Adama Traore early in the second half that typified his excellence, the striker’s whippet pace nullified with ease. Attackers need a Satnav to find a way past Van Dijk. His headed clearances have become so routine they are barely noted. He has become a £75 million bargain."

Chris Bascombe in The Telegraph wrote in December 2018

Van Dijk inspired Liverpool to victory against Bayern Munich on 13 March 2019 in the Champions League. The £75m defender had Liverpool's hierarchy playing with superlatives. Co-owner John W. Henry tweeted "75 per cent of the earth is covered by water, the rest by Van Dijk." Klopp was equally complimentary in his press conference: "You could write a book about his skills, his strengths, how much I like him, what a fantastic person he is," Klopp said after the game. "He's so young, already so mature, so strong, all good."

Klopp and John Henry on Van Dijk

"Beast of a player, beast of a man, my goodness what a player."

Roy Keane on Van Dijk on Sky Sports after Liverpool's 2-0 win over Manchester United on 19 January 2020

Scrapbook
442 cover - March 2019
442 cover - March 2019
Wantaway Van Dijk - 2017
Wantaway Van Dijk - 2017
Other Clubs
Club Season Club rank League apps League goals Total apps Total goals
Groningen 2010-2011 Holland 1 2 0 5 2
Groningen 2011-2012 Holland 1 23 3 24 3
Groningen 2012-2013 Holland 1 32 2 37 2
Celtic 2013-2014 Scotland 1 36 5 47 5
Celtic 2014-2015 Scotland 1 35 4 56 10
Celtic 2015-2016 Scotland 1 5 0 10 0
Southampton 2015-2016 England Premier League 34 3 38 3
Southampton 2016-2017 England Premier League 21 1 30 4
Southampton 2017-2018 England Premier League 12 0 12 0
Total 200 18 259 29