Virgil van Dijk has been nothing short of a revelation for Liverpool since arriving at the start of 2018 and with Thursday his 30th birthday, here are 30 of his incredible achievements.
The Dutchman has played a pivotal role in the Reds’ rise to the top of world football in recent years, a transformational signing who swiftly ensured his £75 million price tag was a bargain.
Van Dijk has cemented himself among the world’s best and now sets the standards of what is expected from a defender.
On the comeback from a major knee injury, there is plenty of anticipation to see him back on the pitch but before then it is time to reflect on his achievements to date on what is his 30th birthday on July 8.
Here are 30 of the best since he officially arrived at Anfield, in January 2018:
– The most expensive transfer in Liverpool’s history following his £75 million transfer from Southampton
– Only the 18th player to score on his Liverpool debut in the modern era
– The fourth Dutchman to ever win PFA Player of the Year
– The fifth player to play every top-flight game in a Premier League-winning season
– At the time of his signing, the price was a world-record fee for a defender, was later superseded Harry Maguire following his £80m move to Man United in 2019
– Has never lost a league game at Anfield, winning 42 of his 47 outings on the ground
– Only the 24th player to score on his Anfield debut
– Played every single minute in 74 consecutive Premier League games – a run that stretched from Sep 2018 – Oct 2020
– Finished second in the Ballon d’Or in 2019
– The first defender to be crowned UEFA Men’s Player of the Year
– Did not have a player successfully dribble past him in 50 Premier League appearances
– First defender to have a 99 rated card on FIFA
– The second-ever Liverpool FIFA cover star
– Was only the twelfth defender to make it into the top three of Ballon d’Or
– The first Liverpool player to start every game in back-to-back seasons in the Premier League era (2018/19 and 2019/20)
– Held record for most completed passes in one half of football in Premier League with 77, in the 3-1 win over Arsenal in September 2020 – surpassing Thiago
– Became first Red to win UEFA Defender of the Season in 2018/19
– Only second Dutchman to wear the captain’s armband for Liverpool, behind Dirk Kuyt
– One of only four players to be named in FIFA FIFPro World11 in two different seasons
– Has tasted defeat just 21 times in a total of 130 appearances for Liverpool
– The sixth defender to win the PFA Player of the Year across 46 seasons
– From January 2018 to September 2020, no centre-back scored more than Van Dijk (10) in the Premier League
– A Premier League, Champions League, Super Cup and Club World Cup winner
– The only Liverpool player to feature for every single minute of the club’s remarkable 44-game unbeaten run in the Premier League from January 2019 to February 2020.
– Only 16 clubs have inflicted defeat on Van Dijk since arriving at Liverpool
– By scoring and assisting at Bayern Munich in 2019, he became the first Red to do so in an away Champions League knockout game since Craig Bellamy in 2007
– In the games Van Dijk plays, Liverpool concede an average of 0.96 goals per game
– Before his knee injury, he played 98.5% of all available league minutes for the Reds
– The only Red to place second for The Best FIFA Men’s Player, surpassing Mo Salah‘s third-place finish in 2018
– The sixth Red to win both Liverpool’s Players’ Player of the Year and Fans’ Player of the Year award in the same season. Steven Gerrard, Luis Suarez, Philippe Coutinho, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah came before him