Incredible Defensive Stats Prove Why Virgil van Dijk Deserved to Win PFA Player of the Year


​Raheem Sterling was no doubt a worthy candidate, but you just knew Virgil van Dijk had this particular award in the bag. 

Whilst Manchester City's sprint king has added an end product to his game in recent seasons, the Etihad juggernaut has just looked as devastating with his teammate Leroy Sane in the side.

But at Anfield, the acquisition of Van Dijk for a world record transfer fee for a defender in January 2018 has been nothing short of incredible. The Dutchman has transformed Liverpool's defence into undeniably being the best in the league, with the Reds conceding just 20 goals, and keeping 20 clean sheets to boot too.

Whilst Jurgen Klopp and the rest of the ​Liverpool back-line can take a lot of the credit too for their parsimonious defence, Van Dijk's individual dominance has been formidable.

According to stats from Opta, in the defender's 36 Premier League appearances this season, no opposition player (not one) has managed to complete a single dribble past the 27-year-old, with the run actually stretching back for a further nine games from the back end of the last campaign.

Not only has he kept some of the league's best dribblers in his back pocket, but Van Dijk also has the unbelievable double record of having the best duel success ratio (77%) of those who have competed in 100+ duels, and the best aerial duel success ratio (76.2%) of those to have competed in 150+ aerial duels.

All in all, the former Southampton man's influence has been untold, with the Reds boasting an average of 2.32 points per game when he plays, to 1.98 when he doesn't. 

He may have cost the Reds £75m, but Van Dijk has well and truly been a bargain, and is a more than deserved winner of the PFA Player of the Year award this season.