Gary Neville: Virgil van Dijk is my PFA Player of the Year
Jamie Carragher also praises how Jurgen Klopp has improved his squad - Watch Liverpool vs Chelsea live on Sky Sports Premier League on Sunday; Kick-off at 4.30pm
Last Updated: 12/04/19 12:44pm
Gary Neville believes Virgil van Dijk should be awarded PFA Player of the Year after a standout campaign for Liverpool.
Van Dijk has been in impressive form for Jurgen Klopp's side, making 39 appearances in central defence for the Merseyside club who are two points clear at the top of the Premier League table.
The Netherlands international has more than impressed Neville and when asked on Friday Night Football whether the 27-year-old should win it, he replied: "100 per cent he's player of the year for me. There's not even anybody else close to him.
"It wasn't the signing itself that surprised me, it was the amount. I remember when Manchester City signed Kyle Walker for £50m and it sort of left me thinking 'wow, that's incredible'. It's the same with Virgil van Dijk.
"However, watching him in the last 12 months, everybody is giving him the praise he deserves. He's been absolutely outstanding.
Virgil van Dijk defensive stats in 2018/19 Premier League season
|Aerial duels won||76.6%|
|Dribbles past by opposition (per 90 minutes)||0|
"I remember looking back at my career and thinking of say Gary Pallister, Jaap Stam and Rio Ferdinand - a defender in a team that makes everybody feel safe.
"Honestly, every time I watch Liverpool play and the ball gets played forward, even if Joel Matip misses it or the two full-backs aren't quite there because they've gone forward, he just seems to cover the whole back four as one defender.
His passing is a joke - it's unbelievable. He passes it like a central midfield player.
Gary Neville on Virgil van Dijk
"He's a unique defender. Raphael Varane and Sergio Ramos have been the best centre-backs in the world for me for the last few years.
"There is no doubt that this guy now is going to be up there in the next few years as the best centre-half in the world, because I've not seen a centre-half as good as him for a long, long time.
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"And his in-possession play, his passing is a joke - it's unbelievable. He passes it like a central midfield player.
"To me, he's the player in the team that every Liverpool player will say if there's one injury we don't want, it's him. He can't get injured. He's the one that's got to stay fit."
Carra: Klopp getting best out of players
Jamie Carragher said: "Everyone talks about what he's done for this Liverpool team, and that's absolutely spot on, but we should also remember, not just Virgil van Dijk, but there are a lot of players in this team giving performances under Jurgen Klopp that we haven't seen before.
"If you think of Sadio Mane at Southampton, he's been a revelation at Liverpool. Mohamed Salah as well and Virgil van Dijk comes into that category as well.
"He was a brilliant player at Southampton but again, everyone was surprised by the fee Liverpool paid. How good is he going to be? You are absolutely spot on, he's player of the year.
"There's only actually one player who has probably not taken off as a big-money signing for Liverpool and that's Naby Keita.
"In terms of the signings Klopp spent big money on, everyone has massively raised their game. It's not just these players coming in and improving Liverpool, it's what Jurgen Klopp has done for those players."