John Barnes believes the Reds centre-half could be recognised as the finest performer in the Premier League if he maintains his current standards
Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk is capable of landing the PFA Player of the Year award for 2018-19, claims John Barnes.
The Dutch centre-half recently passed a year of service at Anfield having completed a £75 million ($100m) move in the January transfer window of 2018.
He was expected to make an important contribution on Merseyside after being made the most expensive defender in history.
His presence is considered to have pushed Liverpool into Premier League title contention, with the resolute Reds currently holding a four-point lead at the summit.
If they were to get their hands on the top-flight crown for the first time since 1990, then Barnes feels Van Dijk would hold serious claims to being recognised as the finest performer in the division.
The Liverpool legend told The Sport Review: “If he plays the way he does and Liverpool win the league [he could win the PFA award].
“We may not win the league but he can still do that if he continues to play the way he is playing and have the effect that he has. But it’s only halfway through [the season].
Click Here: NRL league Jerseys
“If Liverpool lose the next 10 games and we lose 5-0, he’s not going to. He has a chance – and he has had a fantastic first half of the season.”
Barnes is not surprised to see Van Dijk making such an impression on Merseyside, as there were never any question that he boasted the ability and leadership skills to be a shrewd addition.
The ex-England international added: “He hasn’t taken me by surprise because I know the quality he has but I didn’t expect him to have such a big impact on the team.
“He has helped them get the best defensive record. Alisson has helped that. A centre-half and a goalkeeper is a spine of a team. Trent Alexander-Arnold, Andy Robertson and even Dejan Lovren are all doing better once they had a commanding centre-half alongside them.
“It is the obvious impact he has had on the defence.”
Liverpool boast the best defensive record in the Premier League at present, with Jurgen Klopp’s side having been breached just 13 times in 23 fixtures.