Having recovered from a long-term ACL injury, Van Dijk is now back to his best in a Liverpool shirt, which is a testament to his remarkable ability.
Despite the Reds’ 1-0 loss to Inter Milan on Tuesday night, the sight of Lautaro Martinez sizing up a one-on-one with the Dutchman and giving up entirely showed the aura he possesses.
That has been reinforced by one of this weekend’s opponents, with Maupay singling Van Dijk out in a game of ‘Never Have I Ever…’ for Sky Sports last month.
Sat alongside Brighton captain Lewis Dunk, the Frenchman was asked about the world-class players he has come up against, and named Liverpool’s No. 4 as the toughest defender he has faced.
“Van Dijk, probably,” Maupay said.
“The man is just too strong, too rapid, too tall…too everything! Just hard.”
That sums it up nicely, and coming from a fellow professional – who has now found his feet with Brighton, scoring nine goals in 28 games so far this season – gives further credibility to the statement.
Van Dijk is yet to suffer defeat to Brighton, with his record of seven Premier League games unbeaten (five wins, two draws) the second-longest against any side in the English top flight, behind only Everton (10 games).
His goalscoring record against the south-coast club is also his best in the league, with his two goals in the 2-1 win over the Seagulls back in 2019 equalling his tally against Watford, Newcastle and Leeds.
It stands to reason, then, that Maupay would respect the quality Van Dijk possesses, and the hope is that he can maintain his excellent run against Brighton on Saturday’s trip to the Amex.