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Virgil van Dijk has had the ‘Eric Cantona effect’ for Liverpool, says Phil Thompson

Virgil van Dijk has had the ‘Eric Cantona effect’ for Liverpool, says Phil Thompson, as the legendary defender says Jurgen Klopp’s men are among the best teams the Reds have ever had

  • Phil Thompson says Virgil van Dijk has had an Eric Cantona effect on Liverpool
  • Drawing the Dutch defender has turned out to be a masterpiece by Jurgen Klopp
  • He led them to the Champions League and Premier League titles in a year
  • United experienced a similar period of dominance when Cantona joined in 1992
  • Thompson spoke exclusively to The Gary Newbon Sports Show

Liverpool legend Phil Thompson believes Virgil van Dijk has had a similar impact on Anfield as Eric Cantona on Manchester United.

The Dutchman signed for the Reds in a massive £ 75 million deal in January 2018, but has proven to be worth every penny after leading them to the Champions League and Premier League titles over the past 13 months.

Cantona had a similar effect when he moved from Leeds to United in 1992, achieving four league titles in five seasons under Sir Alex Ferguson, and Thompson praised Van Dijk’s role in Liverpool’s recent success.

Phil Thompson thinks Virgil van Dijk has had the 'Eric Cantona effect' for Liverpool

Phil Thompson thinks Virgil van Dijk has had the ‘Eric Cantona effect’ for Liverpool

Van Dijk is at the heart of the Liverpool team that has won the Premier League title

Van Dijk is at the heart of the Liverpool team that has won the Premier League title

Van Dijk is at the heart of the Liverpool team that has won the Premier League title

Cantona had a similar effect on Old Trafford when he moved from Leeds to United in 1992

Cantona had a similar effect on Old Trafford when he moved from Leeds to United in 1992

Cantona had a similar effect on Old Trafford when he moved from Leeds to United in 1992

In an interview with The Gary Newbon Sport Show on Punching.TVThompson: ‘I recently said that Van Dijk had the Cantona effect for me that he had at Manchester United.

‘That professionalism, the will to win, that wish and then they became series winners.

“Van Dijk seems to have brought that to many of our team.”

Thompson, who won seven league titles and three European Cups during his time at Anfield, believes Klopp’s current crop will drop as one of the club’s best teams ever.

Speaking about the importance of winning the league title in the city, he said: ‘As a Liverpool fan since I was a fetus, it’s one of those moments in our time that we’ve won two Champions Leagues since we last won the title and for 30 years it has literally become a myth, the holy grail.

Jurgen Klopp's side is going down as one of Liverpool's greatest ever, Thompson thinks

Jurgen Klopp's side is going down as one of Liverpool's greatest ever, Thompson thinks

Jurgen Klopp’s side is going down as one of Liverpool’s greatest ever, Thompson thinks

Thompson won seven league titles and three European Cups during his time at Anfield

Thompson won seven league titles and three European Cups during his time at Anfield

Thompson won seven league titles and three European Cups during his time at Anfield

“It has become so important to everyone’s way of life. It is what we have wanted for a long time. This team has been absolutely incredible for two years.

“Manchester City has been amazing for two years and now Liverpool is incredible. This side is phenomenal. They will go down as one of the greats and if they continue to do so it will become one of the best Liverpool Football Club of all time. ‘

Thompson, who regularly works as an expert at Sky Sports, also praised Reds skipper Jordan Henderson and some of the other players who were key to Liverpool’s title win.

He said, “Jordan ticks those boxes. He may not have the skills or ability of many other people, such as Steven Gerrard, and he had to try to bury that Gerrard captain, which was like succeeding Sir Alex Ferguson. It was going to be that heavy.

Thompson also praised Reds skipper Jordan Henderson and some of their other protagonists

Thompson also praised Reds skipper Jordan Henderson and some of their other protagonists

Thompson also praised Reds skipper Jordan Henderson and some of their other protagonists

“People didn’t take him in because I don’t think they could see what Jordan actually gives and it’s much more than just that player on the field. He’s a leader I think all teams, even some of the big six, are still looking for.

“I think he has been an absolutely wonderful leader. I think he will be there for the Player of the Year, but there are so many special players on this side.

“In defense you have Joe Gomez, who was great, Trent Alexander-Arnold with so many assistants, Andy Robertson, who was great. The goalkeeper and Van Dijk have absolutely been so important to this football team. ‘

The Gary Newbon Sports Show, with @ Punching.TV, and in collaboration with MailOnline Sport, #GNSS will be streamed live every Thursday

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