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Arsenal superstar references Liverpool ace as his inspiration

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By Siddharth Juyal

Arsenal defender William Saliba aspires to play like Liverpool captain Virgil van Dijk, highlighting that the Dutchman “scares the attackers”

Arsenal defender William Saliba praised Liverpool captain Virgil van Dijk as the defender with the aura that “scares the strikers”. The Arsenal fanbase has incessantly hyped Saliba as the best centre-back in the Premier League in the last two seasons.

They would need to pause their hype train after Saliba highlighted the Liverpool captain while considering himself in the top three defenders. Van Dijk enjoyed a formidable season with the Reds despite the team’s struggle with complacency that leaked many early goals.

Meanwhile, Saliba enjoyed a strong season defensively with Arsenal as they showed their willingness to play defensively at times. Arsenal received criticism for parking the bus in certain games as many believed that strategy cost them the title.

Liverpool skipper Virgil Van Dijk remains the best defender in the Premier League despite the team's struggle with leaking goals.
Liverpool skipper Virgil Van Dijk remains the best defender in the Premier League despite the team’s struggle with leaking goals.

They infamously played a low-block defensive strategy against Manchester City in the away game that ended in a draw. The Gunners signed Declan Rice last season to bolster their defensive midfield and played him in the double-pivot.

Saliba told French publication L’Equipe that Van Dijk has the aura and the command that scares the opposition strikers away. He said:

“I’m not the guy who talks much, but I talk more and more. I’m making progress on that point. In defence at Arsenal, I’m one of the leaders. Van Dijk has aura. He’s the boss. He commands everything. You can feel he’s scaring strikers away. And I’m starting to feel the same way.”

Liverpool signed Wataru Endo as the only defensive midfielder with a speciality to do the dirty work for the team. Endo delivered good performances and enjoyed a strong season but an upgrade during the summer remains a requirement.

At the same time, Van Dijk displayed the form that made him one of the best defenders in the world. The Dutch captain dominated in both the aerial and ground duels despite the team’s vulnerability in several key defensive positions.

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Liverpool needs to reinforce certain areas to eliminate the problems that they faced last season while Van Dijk remains a key player in the backline. The Liverpool captain alongside his squad and the fanbase are eagerly anticipates the tactical changes which new head coach Arne Slot will make at the club.