By Michael Hincks
Virgil van Dijk's stats in first 50 Liverpool games
Last Updated: 17/01/19 11:22am
Virgil van Dijk marked his 50th Liverpool appearance with a clean sheet on the weekend - we break down his impressive stats since joining last January.
Saturday's 1-0 win at Brighton was Liverpool's 18th Premier League victory of the season, and ensured the leaders maintained their four-point gap over Manchester City by the end of the weekend.
The gritty display at the Amex Stadium came thanks to a Mohamed Salah penalty, while Liverpool stifled Brighton down the other end with the hosts failing to record a shot on target.
Van Dijk was once more influential in ensuring Liverpool kept a 24th clean sheet in what was his 50th game for the club since he joined from Southampton for £75m 12 months ago.
A look at Liverpool's 50 matches with Van Dijk compared to the previous 50 highlight where the Dutchman's quality is taking effect and is proving why the club were willing to pay a world-record fee for a defender.
Liverpool are maintaining their goalscoring rate, averaging more than two goals per game, but with Van Dijk they are now conceding less than one goal per game, having shipped in 41 goals when he features.
Liverpool in all competitions (Per Opta)
|With Van Dijk||Before Van Dijk|
|Shots on target faced||147||147|
Jurgen Klopp's side have lost one more game with Van Dijk than they had done beforehand, but in conceding fewer goals and recording more clean sheets, Liverpool have been able to convert possible draws into victories.
Breaking up Van Dijk's stats between the previous and current campaign, Liverpool conceded 24 goals in the Dutchman's 22 games last season, compared to 17 goals conceded in his 28 games this time around.
Meanwhile, Liverpool have actually faced more shots in the 50 games with Van Dijk (434) than the 50 games before his debut last January (405). As for shots on target, it is the exact same (147 faced).
The numbers are also an ode to goalkeeper Alisson Becker, who is justifying the £67m fee Liverpool paid Roma to sign him in the summer.
Van Dijk's PL numbers in 2018-19
|Passes||1686 (1st for Liverpool)|
|Duel success||75.44% (3rd)|
Van Dijk also leads several individual stats at Liverpool in the Premier League this season, having made more passes (1686), blocks (12), clearances (114) and interceptions (25) than any of his team-mates.
Van Dijk attempts just shy of one tackle per 90 minutes (0.97), a testament to the 27-year-old's positioning, while he has also conceded 0.51 fouls per 90 minutes - placing him 16th overall for Liverpool.
Suffice to say Van Dijk is Liverpool's leader at the back, and will remain integral as the club continue their charge towards a first Premier League title.
Up next is the visit of Crystal Palace on Saturday, and you can follow the action on Soccer Saturday with Jeff Stelling from 3pm.