Virgil van Dijk

Brendan Rodgers tips Virgil van Dijk to thrive if he joins Liverpool

Former Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers believes summer target Virgil van Dijk is capable of making the step up to a “top six” side.

Van Dijk is widely reported to be on Jurgen Klopp‘s list of priority targets for the upcoming transfer window, with the Dutchman mooted for a £50 million move from Southampton.

This marks a rapid rise for the 25-year-old since leaving Celtic for St Mary’s back in 2015, with Van Dijk having established himself as one of the best centre-backs in Europe.

And Rodgers, now manager at Celtic Park, has declared that Van Dijk would “certainly” thrive at a bigger club.

“I speak to the guys at the club who have worked with Virgil van Dijk, and he’s always had those qualities. It’s just up to someone to take that punt on him,” he explained.

“He’s 6’4”, he’s fast, he can play, he’s an international footballer, he’s good in the air—he’s got everything.

“You saw that in a player like [Victor] Wanyama when he was up here as well, you know they’re a top player.

“Virgil is at a great club, let’s not forget, Southampton is a fantastic club.

“And if he left there then of course it would have to be what you would consider to be one of the top four or top six clubs.”

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - Saturday, November 19, 2016: Liverpool's Sadio Mane in action against Southampton's Virgil Van Dijk during the FA Premier League match at St. Mary's Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Rodgers has previously claimed that he urged Liverpool to sign Van Dijk, when the defender was at both Gronigen and Celtic, but was turned down by the club’s scouts.

Virgil van Dijk could have jumped from Celtic to a Liverpool. Some clubs will want to see the players tested at certain arenas first,” he said in February.

“There is maybe an issue with scouts. When I was at Liverpool I asked about Van Dijk and he was at Groningen and then at Celtic. But I was told he wouldn’t be for us at the time.”

Whether this is the case is debatable, but there is little denying Van Dijk would be an excellent signing for the Reds.

Their ability to coax him from Southampton, ahead of the likes of Man City and Chelsea, will likely hinge on finishing in the Premier League‘s top four this season.

This could see them meet Celtic in the Champions League, and Rodgers has admitted it would be “amazing” to take on his former side on Europe’s biggest stage.

Liverpool have four games left to play before their fate is sealed, however, with results against Watford, Southampton, West Ham and Middlesbrough determining their summer ambition.

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