Former Liverpool defender John Arne Riise believes Virgil van Dijk can emulate Anfield greats such as Sami Hyypia and Jamie Carragher in his time at the club.
Riise, who made 339 appearances for the Reds between 2001 and 2008, sees van Dijk as another centre back in the vein of his Champions League winning teammates who can marshal the defence for years to come.
Speaking to Liverpool's official website, the Norwegian said: “Having Sami Hyypia and Jamie Carragher helped me a lot, as I could go forward knowing that they had my back."
"They were able to see the whole pitch in front of them and if I wasn’t in the correct position - which could happen a lot - they would shout instructions and make me aware.
“Every team should have a leader at the back. Carra and Hyypia were brilliant for that - and I can see Van Dijk doing the same now. I really like what he’s doing.”
The Dutchman moved from Southampton in January for £75m, and endeared himself to the fans immediately with a debut goal to win the Merseyside derby.
Riise also heaped praise on his successors on the left flank, praising Andy Robertson and Alberto Moreno for their efforts at full back.
“I’ve been very impressed. He’s young, aggressive and fit. If he can stay healthy and focused, he has a big future as well. But I want to see him create even more and also score some goals!”
The Norwegian believes full backs have an even more important role to play in Liverpool's team due to Jurgen Klopp's gegenpressing style, remarking: “I think the full backs are very important in football today. They need to be fit, strong and good offensively as they take a significant part in the attacking play.
This may be pushing it, but Andy Robertson’s the sort of transfer that everyone should celebrate. Shows it’s not all about paying premium fees. Spotting the right player, allowing him time, coaching him well still goes a long way.— Rory Smith (@RorySmith) March 17, 2018
“For Jürgen Klopp especially, it’s very important to have the full backs able to push forward and make those runs which can open up the opposition.”
Robertson has made 18 appearances in his debut season at Anfield, impressing Klopp with his tenacity and seemingly boundless energy.