Liverpool legend and television pundit Phil Thompson has stated his firm belief that January signing Virgil van Dijk has the quality and ability to become club captain in the coming months.

Van Dijk was formerly captain at Southampton prior to his £75m move, while Liverpool have lacked a regular skipper this season as a result of Jordan Henderson's injury problems - Philippe Coutinho, Emre Can and Simon Mignolet have all worn the armband.


Looking ahead, Thompson now sees Van Dijk in that role.

"Dare I say it, he looks a future captain material. The way he plays, with his presence, I'd like to think he could grow into that role in another 12 months," Thompson, a former Liverpool captain himself and three-time European Cup winner, told Sky Sports.

At 26 years of age and needing time to adapt to his new surroundings after a lengthy and unsettling transfer saga, Van Dijk is not the finished product. Thompson admits that, but has every confidence the Dutch international will blossom.

"He needs to be a better organiser, which will come with experience, because you need to have that ability to make sure everybody is organised, even when you're not having a good game yourself," the Soccer Saturday regular commented.

"I agree with the comment that we'll see the best of him next season when he's had a full pre-season after his injuries and his head not being in the right place for so long.


"I think he's absolutely fantastic when at his best, a Rolls Royce of a defender, reading the game very well and certainly a huge presence at 6ft4in with plenty of speed."

Van Dijk is currently preparing for a potentially hostile first return to St Mary's when Liverpool travel to face Southampton in the Premier League this weekend.