Virgil van Dijk told he's been overtaken by two Arsenal stars but Liverpool reality is clear

Virgil van Dijk warms up for a Liverpool training session.
Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk. -Credit:Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Liverpool captain Virgil van Dijk has not been as good this season as two Arsenal defenders, according to Tony Cascarino. In another example of the Dutchman being taken for granted, a strange verdict has been issued.

"He was really good for a time, but looking over the course of the season, I would certainly say William Saliba and Gabriel Magalhães were better," Cascarino told talkSPORT. "He didn’t play poorly, that’s for sure. I mean, look there were other seasons he has clearly warranted being the number one center-half, but no, not this season."

In the Premier League in 2023/24, Liverpool has conceded 10 goals more than Arsenal so far, but Van Dijk is not the only element that comes into that. The Reds have been without Alisson Becker for most matches, as well as Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold.

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Mikel Arteta's side, by contrast, has been able to pick almost the same team in every single match. Injuries have not impacted Arsenal in the same way that Jürgen Klopp's final campaign has been troubled, which will also have played a significant part.

Cascarino said that Ollie Watkins should win the Player of the Year award even ahead of Phil Foden and Martin Ødegaard. Declan Rice and Alexander Isak were also mentioned, but there were no Liverpool stars thrown into the mix. says: Van Dijk is still the best defender in the Premier League. When was the last time he made an error? The one at Arsenal, alongside Alisson, is probably the only obvious one this year.

While Saliba and Gabriel are part of a team that is going to come closer to winning the Premier League and they are newer and fresher, the idea that they are both ahead of Van Dijk isn't true. Saliba has the potential to get there but Gabriel is a very good center-back without being world-class. Van Dijk's level is simply less noticeable because it is just the norm these days.

Both benefit from being in a team that is functioning very well. As Liverpool takes the next step forward as a collective, Van Dijk will still be a very big part of that. He should, without a doubt, get a new contract this summer.