“He has almost cheated” – Rio Ferdinand showers praises on Liverpool superstar’s pace and strength, claiming he has earned respect over the years.
Rio Ferdinand has lauded Virgil van Dijk’s display against Inter Milan on Wednesday.
Former Premier League defender Rio Ferdinand strongly agrees Virgil van Dijk’s pace and strength allowed him to dominate the Inter Milan attackers on Wednesday.
The reds faced Serie A outfit Inter Milan in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg tie at the San Siro. The Reds had few rare moments of defending to do, but Van Dijk and Ibrahima Konate dealt well with the Inter Milan’s attacks.
“In the end, I think it’s a well-deserved win of course, in my opinion, but it was very hard work and it will be the same in Liverpool.”
There were a couple of occasions in the game where Ferdinand felt Van Dijk used his strength and pace to bully the likes of Lautaro Martinez and Edin Dzeko.
The 43-year-old said: “This is about respect, earning respect over the years. You see van Dijk here, he is saying, ‘One vs one, the only place you [Martinez] are going to go, I’m going to show you down there [away from goal]. And if you choose to go down there, I’ll beat you for pace, I’ll bully you for strength.
“This one here, he has almost cheated there because he knows he can get back to Dzeko, he’s not the quickest. It is about knowing the players you are playing against.”
The Dutchman has had an extreme impact on the club since joining the Reds in 2018. He was key in Liverpool winning their sixth UEFA Champions League trophy in 2018-19 and their first Premier League title in 2019-20.
The Reds will play the second leg against Inter on 8 March, hoping that Van Dijk will continue marshaling the backline and get them to the quarterfinals.