Stats: Why Virgil van Dijk is the best defender in the world

The Dutch centre-back landed the prestigious award ahead of Reds teammate Sadio Mane, Manchester City trio Sergio Aguero, Bernardo Silva and Raheem Sterling, plus Chelsea’s Eden Hazard.

Van Dijk has featured in every Premier League match of Liverpool’s title-challenging campaign and has been a mainstay of the team during their progression to the semi-finals of the Champions League.

The 27-year-old is only the sixth defender to be crowned the PFA Players’ Player of the Year in the award’s history, emulating Norman Hunter, Colin Todd, Gary Pallister, Paul McGrath and John Terry.

Here’s a look at some of the LFC No.4’s impressive facts and figures from the 2018-19 season so far…

4,015 – Minutes played for Liverpool in all competitions this season – more than any other outfield player in the squad.

3,262 – Touches in the Premier League. Only Chelsea pair Jorginho (3,398) and Cesar Azpilicueta (3,276) have more.

3,205 – Minutes played in the Premier League this season, out of a maximum of 3,240.

2,847 – Passes made in the top flight. Only Jorginho has attempted more.

240 – Clearances made across all competitions – the most of any LFC player and more than double his nearest rival, Joel Matip (92).

193 – Clearances made in the Premier League – a top 10 ranking.

170 – Aerial battles won in the top flight – a top five ranking.

108 – Headed clearances in the league – a top five ranking.

88 – Total shots on target faced by Liverpool in the Premier League – only Manchester City are more miserly, with 79.

76.23 – per cent of aerial battles won by Van Dijk – the best in the Premier League (minimum of 150 aerials).

45 – Appearances for Liverpool this term from a possible 48 games.

34 – Games won across all competitions.

23 – Clean sheets in all competitions.

20 – Premier League goals conceded by Liverpool this season – fewer than any other team in the top flight.

5 – Number of outfield players in the Premier League with more minutes this season.

5 – Goals scored.

4 – Assists provided.

1 – Substitution.

0.56 – Average goals conceded by Liverpool per Premier League match – the best record in the top flight.

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