By 90Min
July 09, 2019

Eyebrows were raised when Liverpool spent £75m on Southampton centre-half Virgil Van Dijk 18 months ago, which is still a world record for a defender.

However, the Dutchman has proved to be worth every singe penny of the enormous fee, and the Reds' improvement with Van Dijk at the back has been ginormous, culminating in their Champions League final victory over Tottenham in June.

The 28-year-old is as close to the complete defender as you are ever likely to find, and more resembles an end of level boss in a video game rather than a centre-back.

His monumental season can be summarised in one extraordinary fact: Nobody has dribbled past Virgil Van Dijk while playing for Liverpool in 64 games.

That is undoubtedly impressive, but all good things come to an end. So we're now going to look at the players who could be the ones to break that record, with some being slightly more realistic than others.


Leroy Sane

Martin Rose/GettyImages

We start off with the most recent player to dribble past the big Dutchman.

The Manchester City winger managed to do the impossible and dribble around Van Dijk for Germany in a 2-2 draw against the Netherlands in a Nations League group stage match in Berlin, with the Liverpool talisman getting the last laugh by scoring a last-minute equaliser to seal his side's progression to the semi-finals.

Although he didn't have his greatest season last time around, Leroy Sane is a fantastic player with electric pace which is enough to worry any defender on the planet.

He is, as stated, in an exclusive club when it comes to beating Van Dijk, so if anyone can do it, Sane is more likely than most.

Chances of being the next man to beat Van Dijk: 8/10


Raheem Sterling

Richard Heathcote/GettyImages

If Sane can't do it, maybe his Manchester City teammate can.

Raheem Sterling had a magnificent season last year, contributing massively to the Citizen's historic domestic treble, and emerging as one of global football's elite talents.

His dribbling is arguably his greatest asset, and he will be determined to get one over on the man who just pipped him to the PFA Player of the Year award.

With both Liverpool's and City's first game being in the Community Shield on 4 August, the Sky Blue's have two world-class options to finally be the one to get past 'Big Virg'.

Chances of being the next man to beat Van Dijk: 7/10


 Eden Hazard

GABRIEL BOUYS/GettyImages

No one completed more dribbles in the Premier League last season than Eden Hazard, and he has finally got his dream move to Real Madrid.

So admittedly, the pair may not cross paths for a while, perhaps even until the latter stages of the Champions League, but Van Dijk's form has been so brilliant that no one may beat him until next year anyway.

By that stage in the season, teams may have finally figured out a way to beat that mean Reds defence, and Hazard may be the man to finally unlock it once and for all, especially if he is given the freedom to perform and can find the consistency to become Los Blancos' star man.

Chances of being the next man to beat Van Dijk: 5/10


Emi Buendia

Matthew Lewis/GettyImages

Liverpool's first Premier League game of the season will come at home to newly promoted Norwich City, who will be desperate to make a statement on their return to the top flight.

Daniel Farke's side won plenty of plaudits last season for their swashbuckling style of play, which involved getting the players on the ball and moving forward as quickly as possible.

Teemu Pukki may have won the majority of the acclaim for his goal-scoring exploits, but the Argentinian winger was a vital member of that squad, and caught the eye with a series of impressive performances, especially when running with the ball.

Van Dijk is obviously a different class to those he faced in the Championship last season, but he may cause him a problem or two on the first day at Anfield.

Chances of being the next man to beat Van Dijk: 2/10


Nathan Redmond

David Cannon/GettyImages

The Merseyside club's second league game of the season will be against Southampton, who dramatically improved under Ralph Hasenhuttl since he took over in December.

There may not have been too many highlights last term for the Saints, but one was the form of winger Nathan Redmond, who after offering so much promise for so long finally started to live to up to his great potential.

He emerged as one of the best dribblers in the league outside the top six, and his pace and trickery has made him one to watch, especially with the words of Pep Guardiola probably in the back of his mind after their slightly bizarre chat on the pitch a couple of years ago.

Chances of being the next man to beat Van Dijk: 3/10


Son Heung-min

Clive Rose/GettyImages

The Tottenham forward came oh so close to being the man to finally break Van Dijk's stranglehold on defences worldwide when he thought he had beaten him in the Champions League final, only for the centre-back to brilliantly shut down the Korean in what was a depressing summary of an ultimately disappointing night for Spurs.

The moment became instantly gif-able and went viral, as if to show just what a colossus Van Dijk really is, but you can be sure that Son Heung-min will want revenge.

The 26-year-old is one of the league's best players, and was very unlucky to not be named in the PFA Team of the Year.

Watch out for the rematch between the pair when they face off in October.

Chances of being the next man to beat Van Dijk: 6/10


Shkodran Mustafi

Catherine Ivill/GettyImages

These things come when you least expect them, and you can't say this would be expected.

Considering the German has zero defensive discipline, he might just fancy having a go at trying to take on the world's best defender, which can only be described as a hilarious prospect.

It's an outside the box thought, but there's probably a good reason for that.

Chances of being the next man to beat Van Dijk: -75/10

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