Virgil van Dijk is more important to Liverpool than Mohamed Salah or Sadio Mane, says Michael Owen, with the Dutch defender considered to be the most integral part of Jurgen Klopp’s squad.
Big money has been invested by the Reds in piecing together a Premier League title-winning puzzle.
It appeared as though all of the gaps had been filled in 2019-20, with the current holders of the Champions League crown opening up a 25-point lead at the top of the table.
They are now waiting to discover whether they will be freed to cross the finishing line and end a 30-year wait for domestic supremacy.
Whatever the outcome of discussions regarding an exit from coronavirus lockdown, Liverpool appear well placed to challenge for more major honours in the future.
Defensive leaks have been plugged, while graft and guile have been added in the middle of the park and one of the most fearsome attacking units in world football constructed.
The likes of Salah and Mane have been leading the charge for Klopp’s side, but Owen feels Netherlands international centre-half Van Dijk is the most important player at Anfield.
The former Reds striker told ESPN FC: "Well it's a great question.
"Liverpool were probably struggling for a period of time and Jurgen Klopp went: 'Right, central defence and goalkeeper, they're the big problem areas for us'.
"And he went and got possibly the best two players in the world in those places in Alisson and Van Dijk.
"Who's the most important player? The front three get a lot of headlines of course. The two full-backs get a lot of headlines, they're amazing.
"Probably the area of the pitch that gets the least headlines is the midfield, the three midfielders.
"But a lot of people are now starting to think that Jordan Henderson has such a huge influence on that team and I'd have to agree with that.
"But if you asked me what player, what one player Liverpool are probably most dependent on that they wouldn't want out for a full season, I would probably say Virgil van Dijk."
While a star-studded cast has been assembled on the field, Liverpool are also benefiting from considerable strength off it – with Klopp cementing his reputation as one of the best in the business.
Owen added: "All the players in the team have got better under his guidance, which is a real sign of a good coach.
"It's okay buying players who are already brilliant but he's making even average players look world class in certain cases.
"They've got some great players, they're an unbelievably talented team and it looks like it's a very happy place.
"Everybody's desperate to play for each other and now all of a sudden you're wondering whether anybody can catch Liverpool for the next few years because they are head and shoulders better than anybody else at the moment."