The key statistic behind Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk’s PFA Player of the Year award has been garnering widespread attention online over the last 24 hours.
Dutch stopper van Dijk made the move to Anfield in January of last year, for a hefty £75 million, a world-record fee for a defender.
At the time, many called into question Liverpool’s wisdom in splashing out such a monumental sum on a player who had not yet proven himself as a consistent performer at the very top level of the game.
However, to say that van Dijk has since gone on to prove his doubters wrong would be putting it lightly.
The 27-year-old has, all told, been an absolute rock at the back for Liverpool over the course of his 15+ months on the books of the Reds.
Van Dijk’s combination of athleticism, aerial prowess, aggression, positional awareness and poise on the ball have come together on Merseyside to see the former Celtic man develop into one of world football’s finest in his position.
Van Dijk’s POTY case
After guiding his side to the final of the Champions League last season, the current campaign has since seen van Dijk play an integral role in Liverpool’s Premier League title challenge, as well as their push to return to the finale of European football’s elite club competition.
In fact, with just 2 games remaining, the 25-time capped international has missed just 35 minutes of the Reds’ league campaign.
And van Dijk’s stellar domestic showings at the heart of Jurgen Klopp’s back-4 quickly saw the stopper emerge as the runaway bookies’ favourite to clinch this season’s PFA Premier League Player of the Year award.
van Dijk’s dominance summed up
As such, it came as little surprise when last night’s PFA award ceremony saw van Dijk officially crowned the English top-flight’s best:
— PFA | Professional Footballers’ Association (@PFA) April 28, 2019
Boss at both ends of the pitch. ????
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) April 29, 2019
And a statistic, highlighting just how frankly-staggering a campaign van Dijk has actually enjoyed for Liverpool this year, has since come to light online.
As showcased below, the Dutchman has incredibly not been dribbled past on a single occasion in the Premier League this season, a run which also stretches back to the final 9 games of last season:
0 – No opposition player has completed a dribble past Virgil van Dijk in any of his 36 PL apps this season. In fact, this run stretches back to last March, meaning he hasn’t been dribbled past by an opponent in any of his last 45 PL apps. Immovable. #PFAAwards #POTY pic.twitter.com/Y8BIsle0vq
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 28, 2019