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Football ‘just too easy’ for Van Dijk, says ex-Liverpool man Lawrenson

Football ‘just too easy’ for Van Dijk, says ex-Liverpool man Lawrenson

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The Netherlands international has recovered from long-term injury and is already showing signs of being back to his best

Football is “just too easy” for Virgil van Dijk, says former Liverpool defender Mark Lawrenson, who believes the “Rolls-Royce” of a centre-back is also bringing the best out of his defensive team-mates.

Van Dijk is back at the heart of the Liverpool defence after recovering from a serious knee injury that caused him to miss the majority of last season.

The 30-year-old looks to be back to his best form already after helping the Merseysiders to an unbeaten start to the campaign as they look to reclaim the Premier League title from Manchester City.

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What did Lawrenson say?

Lawrenson says Van Dijk’s game is comparable to that of his former Liverpool team-mate Alan Hansen, who won 25 major honours during a glittering Anfield career in the 1970s and 1980s.

“The game’s easy to him,” Lawrenson told Off The Ball. “It was like when Hansen played, it was just too easy.

“He never got his kit dirty, it was like ‘what’s your problem?’ when you’d come off covered in blood and snot and everything and he’d just walk off and basically give his kit to the kit-man and tell him he won’t need to wash it this week.

“Everyone keeps going on about Van Dijk and Hansen is the closest person that I can think of that’s comparable.”

Van Dijk having ‘fantastic’ effect on Matip

Lawrenson also believes Van Dijk’s return is having a positive impact on his central defensive partner Joel Matip, with the duo keeping clean sheets in wins over Norwich and Burnley, before last weekend’s 1-1 draw against Chelsea.

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Both players missed large chunks of last season through injury and their absences are seen as one of the key reasons why the Reds failed to retain their title.

“He’s a Rolls-Royce of a centre-back,” added Lawrenson, who made 356 appearances for Liverpool between 1981 and 1988. “He also has such a fantastic effect on Joel Matip. Matip is a much better player playing with him, as you would be, but the thing about Joel Matip when he plays with Van Dijk is that he comes out and plays.

“He comes out and joins into the midfield and commits members of the opposition which is really really good.

“I don’t think Matip particularly likes football, I don’t think he really enjoys it but it’s just something that he’s really good at, but he’s really really good when he’s got Van Dijk beside him.”

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