LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, September 24, 2023: Liverpool's captain Virgil van Dijk during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and West Ham United FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Virgil van Dijk repeating viral stat as manager lauds return of “the old Virgil”

There is a noticeable sense of deja vu in the Premier League as a remarkable stat suggests Virgil van Dijk may be getting back to his best for the Reds this season.

Liverpool’s skipper is enjoying a great run of form after a period in which there were question marks about whether his levels had dropped.

The Dutchman suffered a horrific injury in the Merseyside derby back in October 2020 that kept him out for the remainder of the season, with many accusing him of failing to hit his previous heights in the years that have followed.

As per WhoScored, Van Dijk looks to be silencing those critics having once again been identified as the only defender in the league who is yet to be dribbled past in 2023/24.

The stat indicates that the 32-year-old is the only centre-back of 49 in the Premier League to still be on zero in that category having started at least five matches this season.

Notable names of defenders who haven’t quite achieved that feat include William Saliba (one), Micky van de Ven (two), Thiago Silva (four) and Manuel Akanji (six) – although our personal favourite is the butcher himself, Lisandro Martinez (seven)!

It brings back memories of Van Dijk in his pomp, when rival fans were falling over themselves to try and find footage of players vaguely looking close to taking the ball beyond him.

Netherlands boss Ronald Koeman has praised the defender’s recent form, lauding him as having returned to the “old Virgil”, while simultaneously insisting that minor improvements can still be made to his leadership qualities.

“He has gone through a bad period. In recent international matches, I thought he was the old Virgil again,” Koeman told Ziggo Sport.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, October 29, 2023: Liverpool's captain Virgil van Dijk applauds the supporters after the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Nottingham Forest FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 3-0. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“However, I still think he can do better. One point of criticism I think is that he could be even more of a leader. But the contact between us is very good. And within the group he really has the upper hand.”

It is clear that the armband has served as a help rather than a hindrance to Van Dijk on the pitch this season, with the repeat of his previous viral statistic adding weight to the idea that he is getting back to being the player we all know he can be.

Liverpool fans will be hoping for that trend to continue as Jurgen Klopp‘s side continue to go in search of silverware on all fronts again this season.