Why Virgil van Dijk Is The Greatest Ever Premier League Signing
Virgil van Dijk became an instant fan favourite when he scored a late winner on debut in front of The Kop.
In the 84th minute of the FA Cup third round tie against Everton at Anfield, the Dutch defender rose highest and settled a tight Merseyside derby with his towering header.
There was no better way for the £75million man to endear himself to his new fans in his first game since his mega-money move from Southampton.
But Jurgen Klopp splashed out on Van Dijk to solve his team's problems at the other end.
For all their attacking prowess with Mo Salah, Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Co, Klopp's Reds leaked goals at the back.
Liverpool conceded three or more goals in a game five times between August and December in 2017.
A defence that included Dejan Lovren, Ragnar Klavan and Alberto Moreno couldn't keep teams at bay.
Going forward, Liverpool looked like a Ferrari. Fast, powerful, fearsome and elegant.
And when Van Dijk pulled on the red shirt, the Reds finally had a Rolls Royce of a defender to match their attacking talent.
Liverpool made it all the way to the Champions League final in 2018, where they were beaten by Real Madrid.
Van Dijk's signing was a huge part in their success, turning them from top-four hopefuls to genuine contenders.
That showed the following season when they had the best defence in the Premier League, conceding just 22 goals on their way to second place.
Liverpool racked up 97 points and were beaten just once in the entire campaign as teams struggled to find a way past their rock-solid backline.
Van Dijk elevated the likes of Joe Gomez and Joel Matip when they played alongside him, and even Lovren too.
The Reds have lost just one Premier League game since the start of the 2017-18 season and have raced clear this campaign.
Van Dijk's defensive prowess has been the key factor and he scored big goals as well in both their run to Champions League glory and the Premier League title challenge in 2018-19.
During a time when attacking football is celebrated, Van Dijk has won or gone close for almost every major individual award.
Last season he won PFA Player of the Year, Premier League Player of the Season and UEFA Men's Player of the Year.
He came second to Lionel Messi in the Ballon d'Or in December, but that's hardly a surprise.
Van Dijk took Liverpool from being a top-four team in England to being European and world champions.
If Liverpool go on to win the Premier League this season, he could go down as the club's greatest ever centre-back.