‘He has regressed’ - Former Arsenal star names four centre-backs better than Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk
and live on Freeview channel 276
Petit, a former Premier League and World Cup winner, played alongside some of the greats in defence in Tony Adams and Sol Campbell and he’s recently been discussing the current state of the league’s centre-backs.
Van Dijk had been widely recognised as the best centre-back in the world from 2018-2020 as he won countless individual awards as well as finishing second in the Ballon d’Or behind Lionel Messi in 2019.
However, now 32, he did suffer from inconsistency in his game last season. Although this season he has been almost faultless, producing some brilliant performances as Liverpool have began the season in strong form.
Petit believes that there are four defenders better than Van Dijk at the current time, including one from his former side.
“I think William Saliba is one of the best central defenders in the league, if not the best,” Petit told compare.bet.
“His positioning, tackling and aggressiveness is so impressive and he has improved so much in a short space of time. Van Dijk was the best defender in the league for so long, and he was very impressive against Everton but he is not the best anymore.
“He has regressed since his injury and he lost that consistency. I think the best defenders in the league are Saliba, [Manuel] Akanji, [Ruben] Dias and [Josko] Gvardiol.”
Van Dijk was brilliant in the Merseyside derby as he shut down Dominic Calvert-Lewin and other than his red card against Newcastle United earlier in the season, he has been in strong form.
In fairness, Akanju and Dias both were key in City’s treble-winning campaign last season and Gvardiol was one of the best players at the World Cup in Qatar and is one of the best young centre-backs in world football.
However, it’s clear that the Dutch and Liverpool captain is still capable of producing high levels of performance and if he continues his strong form then Klopp’s side won’t be far off silverware when it comes to the business end of the season.