What Steven Gerrard said about Virgil van Dijk at the start of the season

Liverpool were forced to apologise in the summer over their failed pursuit of Virgil van Dijk, but they managed to get their main transfer target in the end.

On Wednesday, the Anfield club announced that they had agreed a deal to sign the centre-back from Southampton for a reported £75 million – a world-record fee for a defender.

Van Dijk played 12 times for the Saints this season before his departure, and despite not being at his best, he’s viewed by many as a level above Liverpool’s current defensive options.

Given the struggles of Dejan Loven, Reds fans are understandably delighted with Van Dijk’s arrival, but what about ex-captain Steven Gerrard?

The current Liverpool academy coach has featured several times on BT Sport this season, and here’s what he had to say about Van Dijk at the start of the 2017-18 campaign.

Back in August, Gerrard was asked about Van Dijk, and in particular, whether he felt it was a necessity for his former club to sign him.

The 37-year-old replied, via Liverpool Echo: “Yes. For me, if you want to compete in the league and in the Champions League (Van Dijk is needed).”

In the same month, Stevie G also told the Express: “I think he is an amazing player, he would strengthen any team in the league.

“I was actually hoping we would go make a bid for him when he came from Celtic. It was no surprise to me (that) he set the world alright at Southampton.”

Gerrard, who scored 186 goals in 710 Liverpool games, continued: “You think of all them top four teams, even the top six, he’d make them all better.”

If that wasn’t enough, the legendary midfielder also admitted he is a “huge fan” of Van Dijk at a live event in June 2017, stating he’d “love to see him in a red (Liverpool) shirt.”

So, Van Dijk’s acquisition certainly has the approval of Gerrard, and only time will tell whether the 26-year-old is capable of commanding Jurgen Klopp’s men and solidifying their defence.

Due to paperwork issues, he was unable to play in the 2-1 win at Burnley on Monday, however he will have his eyes set on Friday’s FA Cup derby against Everton.