Premier League • England

Van Dijk takes heat off Salah, pointing more towards ‘not normal’ Liverpool star

Virgil van Dijk competes during the 2021-2022 season English Premier League first round match between Norwich City and Liverpool

Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk wants more people to highlight Sadio Mane’s return to form, amid the spotlight on Mohamed Salah.

Salah has long proved his credentials for the Reds, but he is now in the say to be the best player in the world. Indeed, manager Jurgen Klopp claimed that no-one comes close to the Egyptian right now.

However, Mane is also enjoying fine form and has netted six goals in 10 games this season.

Last term, he admitted that he went through his worst campaign in recent memory, but he looks somewhere back to his best.

Like Salah, Mane’s form has been largely consistent and he struck his 100th Premier League goal on Saturday against Watford.

According to Van Dijk, the Senegal international deserves more of the spotlight amid the talk over Salah.

“We know what he’s [Salah] capable of and I think he’s been showing it for a longer period of time,” the defender told a press conference (via the Liverpool Echo).

“It’s not that everyone’s talking about it and everyone’s talking about each other.

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“In my opinion, the numbers speak for themselves. He’s a fantastic player and if you look at our team, we have such a great team.

“Sadio scored his 100th Premier League goal, we should talk about that a little bit more. It’s not something that’s normal, Bobby [Roberto Firmino] coming in after such a long time, difficult time and scoring a hat-trick.

“We have a fantastic squad, a good group of players, boys that want to give everything for each other. To see them all shine, it satisfies us, but we all have our job to.”

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Meanwhile, Van Dijk celebrated a personal milestone on Monday. It marked a year since he ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament in a 2-2 draw with Everton.

He spent the rest of last season on the sidelines, but made his Premier League comeback in August.

Van Dijk has played all eight Premier League games so far this term, but he does not feel that he is back to his previous best.

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Virgil Van Dijk, in action for Liverpool in their Premier League game away at Brentford

“I’m still on the way. It’s still everyone’s opinion. I know there are a lot of eyes in my direction, if he’s going to be back the same way,” he said.

“The only thing I can do is try my best each and every game. That’s what I do, I feel like I’m improving. Everyone knows how difficult it is to come back from a knee injury.

“I don’t think there are are a lot of examples of players who had an ACL or a complex knee injury, that the player is back to his best after a year.

“I have work to do, but I don’t think about what others have to say or judge, I want to be as good as I can for the club, the fans and my country.”

Van Dijk was speaking ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League clash against Atletico Madrid.

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