Reflecting on Liverpool’s 1-0 defeat of Napoli in this week’s decisive Champions League tie, Graeme Souness isn’t convinced that his former club could have kept the Italians at bay this time last year.
Throwing his eye over Jurgen Klopp’s side on The Keith Andrews Show this afternoon, Souness is as impressed as anyone with the influence Alisson Becker and Virgil van Dijk have had on curing the occasionally porous look Liverpool had about them last season.
Having had a little bit longer to examine the Dutch defender at close quarters, Souness, unimpressed though he occasionally may be with some facets of the modern game, likens van Dijk to an old teammate of his, and the best central-defender he claims to have played alongside, Alan Hansen.
“I think this guy van Dijk has got everything Alan Hansen had,” Souness stated.
“Where van Dijk is majestic, he’s far better than Alan Hansen in the air.
“I think Al had a better passing-range, but, maybe not, though you do have to remember what the pitches Alan Hansen was trying to thread through passes on.”
The winner of eight leagues titles, three European Cups and a whole lot more during his lengthy spell with Liverpool, some will undoubtedly argue that van Dijk has a way to go before being considered in the same breath as the Scot.
However, having spent the entirety of his Liverpool career playing alongside Hansen, one may suspect Graeme Souness wouldn’t be rushed into such comparisons unless he was fairly certain he’d pegged van Dijk for the player he is.
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