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‘Van Dijk has had the Cantona effect at Liverpool’ – Thompson lauds talismanic title winner
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17-Jul-2020, 03:17 pm

‘Van Dijk has had the Cantona effect at Liverpool’ – Thompson lauds talismanic title winner


Virgil van Dijk Eric Cantona

Virgil van Dijk has had “the Cantona effect” at Liverpool, claims Phil Thompson, with the Dutch defender seeing the impact he has made at Anfield compared to that of a Manchester United legend.

A long wait for domestic dominance was, however, stretching towards the 30-year mark when a record-breaking £75 million ($94m) transfer was put in place during the winter window of 2018.

Van Dijk made an immediate impression at Liverpool, with the Reds winning the Champions League at the end of his first full campaign.

In 2020, thePremier League title has been secured, with Jurgen Klopp overseeing a return to the loftiest of perches.

Liverpool now boast a number of talismanic figures within their squad, but Van Dijk is considered to be a key piece of the puzzle and the man that laid the foundations on which recent success could be built.

Thompson sees similarities between the resurgence enjoyed at Anfield and that which arch-rivals took in after an enigmatic Frenchman was taken to Old Trafford in November 1992.

The former Reds captain told The Gary Newbon Sport Show on Punching TV: “I have recently said Van Dijk, for me, has had the Cantona effect that he had at Manchester United.

“That professionalism, will to win, that desire and then they went on to be serial winners.

“Van Dijk seems to have brought that to a lot of our team.”

While Van Dijk has become a leader for Liverpool, it will be Jordan Henderson who lifts the Premier League trophy on July 22.

The Reds skipper will not play again this season, having suffered an unfortunate injury, but he is another who is considered to have taken his game, and that of those around him, to new heights.

Thompson said of the 30-year-old midfielder: “Jordan does tick those boxes. He's not maybe got the skills or ability of a lot of other people, like Steven Gerrard, and he's had to try and bury taking that captaincy from Gerrard which was like succeeding Sir Alex Ferguson. That's how tough it was going to be.

“People didn't take to him because I don't think they could see through what Jordan actually gives and it's a lot more than just that player out on the pitch. He is a leader which I think all teams, even some of the big six, are still searching to get.

“I think he's been an absolute great leader. I think he will be up there for the Player of the Year but there's so many special players in this side.

“In defence you've got Joe Gomez, who's been brilliant, Trent Alexander-Arnold with so many assists, Andy Robertson, who's been wonderful. The goalkeeper Alisson and Van Dijk have been absolutely so important to this football team.”


Source : goal.com

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