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“Admirer of his”- Reds ace names Liverpool teammate his toughest opponent

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Liverpool ace Roberto Firmino terms Virgil van Dijk as the “toughest defender” he has come across

Roberto Firmino, talking on the club’s Official Youtube Channel (h/t Liverpool Echo), spoke about Liverpool teammate Virgil van Dijk and called him the “best defender” he has come up against in his career. Bobby and Virg have played together since January 2018, when the Dutchman joined the Reds for a then-record fee of £75m.

When tasked with selecting his best five-a-side team, Bobby named Virgil as the only defender in his team alongside Alisson, Fabinho, Phillipe Coutinho and Mohamed Salah. “Toughest Defender” is what Bobby termed the Dutchman, after calling him a “dear friend”.

“He is another great friend of mine, he’s a great player and he’s the hardest defender I’ve ever played against. He’s another great friend of mine, he’s a great player. I am a great admirer of his.”

The Dutch international is often termed as one of the best defenders of the generation. It does not come as a shocker to see almost all of his teammates pick him when prompted about the best defender they’ve played alongside.

Although the pair have not faced each other whilst representing their countries, Firmino has come up against Virgil on two occasions during the latter’s spell at Southampton. Bobby did not score in any of those fixtures.

Virg and Bobby

The duo would have faced each other multiple times in team training. Firmino’s experience of playing ‘Big Virg’ in training could be the reason why he named Van Dijk the toughest defender he has faced.

Presently though, Virgil has been going through a rough patch as he does not look at his best this season and has been guilty of several mistakes leading to goals or a tough time for Alisson between the sticks. Bobby, on the other hand, has been a revelation of sorts, after last season’s tough times owing to injury.

Liverpool ace Roberto Firmino terms Virgil van Dijk as "toughest defender" he has come across.
Virgil van Dijk and Roberto Firmino

The Brazilian is currently Liverpool’s top goal-scorer in the Premier League with three goals. The international break has come at the right time for the Reds, to try and introspect on their mistakes and get the right once club football restarts in two weeks’ time.

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Virgil is not simply called the best defender in the world by multiple pundits. He will hopefully find a way to come back to optimal levels of fitness and performance and not give the critics anything to talk about. The Dutchman is extremely integral to the Reds’ style of play and his poor form is reflected in the position the Reds are in right now.