Liverpool centre-back Virgil van Dijk is the best defender on the planet, according to manager Jurgen Klopp.
The Dutchman was named as the UEFA Player of the Year on Thursday, seeing off competition from Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. He was an integral part of the Reds side that lifted the Champions League in June - Mohamed Salah and Divock Origi netting in a 2-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur in the final.
Van Dijk also scooped the PFA Player of the Year gong for 2018/19 and is amongst the favourites to win the Ballon d'Or in December.
Speaking ahead of Liverpool's trip to Burnley on Saturday, Klopp stated (as quoted by The Boot Room): The boys got the credit and the benefit of what they did last year, so I think [this award] is well-deserved. Virgil is - in this moment, for sure - the world’s best defender.
"I don’t want to put a big backpack on his shoulders, but I spoke about [how] he still has space for improvement, which is the best news actually. He is a really, really world-class central-defender and he was the outstanding player in the Champions League."
The Reds have been transformed since Van Dijk's £75m arrival from Southampton in January 2018, reaching two European Cup finals with the colossus in their backline.
Nevertheless, their quest for a first top-flight triumph since 1990 has begun in fine fashion this season, recording three wins after three fixtures of the new campaign.