Liverpool star Virgil van Dijk has played down the suggestion that he has been pivotal in solving his side's former defensive crisis, and has claimed that his side don't fear Premier League champions Manchester City ahead of their clash on Sunday.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, the Netherlands international addressed claims that his £75m transfer to the Reds last January played a huge part in shoring up the team's notoriously leaky defence, and said: "There wasn't any crisis in the defence. A club want to improve always and I was happy they wanted me but it wasn't like I came in and changed everything.
"It was about the rest of the boys around me. I don't make a big fuss out of things. I can put things in perspective. That's a good thing to have in this life. A £75m transfer fee: if you don't handle that well, it could be bad in all sorts of ways. But I know that certain things in life are more important than people telling me I made a mistake in a game and I'm not worth £75m."
While the 27-year-old clearly feels there's more to his side's improved fortunes at the back are a team effort, the fact that they've conceded just three goals in seven Premier League games this season is a clear indication that his imperious presence at the back has helped his side to tackle arguably their biggest weakness.
Looking ahead to the mouth watering clash, the former Southampton man said: "City are still the standard everyone else has to aim for. It is going to be hard for them to be champions twice in a row."
"That's been proven over the years in the Premier League. We are trying to do everything we can to do as good as possible and challenge and make it difficult for everyone. We still need to have respect for City, but not fear them."
Meanwhile, Manchester City ace Kyle Walker has claimed that his side are ready to end the 15 year run without a league win at Anfield, and that they won't be intimidated by the famously rampant home support.
The game is arguably the most important of the season so far, and the victors will gain a massive psychological boost to take into the upcoming international break.