Former Manchester United stalwart Gary Neville claims Liverpool have grown enormously since signing Dutch international Virgil van Dijk in January.
Jurgen Klopp's side splashed out a club record fee of £75m to bring Van Dijk to Anfield after he impressed during his time with Premier League rivals Southampton. Whilst the cost of the deal raised some eyebrows initially, Van Dijk has seemingly justified his hefty price tag with some commanding performances at the heart of Liverpool's defence.
With the Anfield side also sealing a £67m deal for AS Roma goalkeeper Alisson Becker in the summer, the Reds have produced some markedly improved defensive performances this campaign. Klopp's men have conceded just five times in their 12 league games this season, a statistic which has led Neville to acknowledge Van Dijk's importance in that run.
Speaking on his Sky Sports podcast on Sunday, he said: "Liverpool have grown enormously in this last 12 to 18 months. The biggest change has been the defensive difference and the introduction of Van Dijk.
Jamie Redknapp: “Liverpool's breakaway goal against Fulham looked like a great piece of quick thinking from Alisson.— Anfield HQ (@AnfieldHQ) November 12, 2018
“Watch the replay more closely and you'll see it is Virgil van Dijk who tells his goalkeeper to take the free-kick quickly.”https://t.co/rSosQzLEE1
"The front three we've known about for 18 months, the introduction of Van Dijk has meant they look a formidable defensive team. With him there, they've got someone that can anchor the defence."
The Reds currently find themselves in second place in the Premier League after beating Fulham 2-0 at the weekend, with just two points separating them from leaders Manchester City in the race for the top spot.
After returning from the international break, Klopp's side will take on Watford in the league, before facing a crucial Champions League tie against PSG at the Parc des Princes.