Pundit’s Choice: Mohamed Salah and Virgil van Dijk

Pundit’s Choice: Mohamed Salah and Virgil van Dijk

Liverpool supporters have been making a lot of noise in the last few hours after seeing their side book their place in the last 16 of the Champions League on Tuesday night.

Jurgen Klopp’s men went into their encounter with group leaders Napoli sat third in Group C and needing to beat Carlo Ancelott’s side at Anfield to stand any chance of qualification. And they did just that as a Mohamed Salah strike in the first half was enough to secure a 1-0 success for the Merseyside giants, thus seeing them go through as group runners-up behind Paris Saint-Germain.

Thus, there have been many thrilled Liverpudlians up and down the country in recent times, several of whom are likely to be intrigued by recent comments from BBC’s Chief Football writer Phil McNulty, who has outlined Salah and Virgil van Dijk as the two Liverpool stars that have got Reds supporters ‘dreaming again’.

And given just how influential they have both been during their respective stints on Merseyside, it’s hard to argue with McNulty’s assessment of the role the duo have played in moving Liverpool up to the next level.

Ultimately, there were a few raised eyebrows when Klopp lured Egypt international Salah back to the Premier League last year following his testing time at Chelsea, but it has proven to be nothing short of a masterstroke given the 26-year-old scored a remarkable 44 goals for the club last term, 32 of which came in his march towards the Premier League Golden Boot.

And while some have questioned whether he is at the same level this time round, Salah netted his 13th of the season in victory over Napoli on Tuesday night, which added to his hat-trick at Bournemouth on Saturday suggests that he is again reaching the highest of heights this time round – he’ll be vital in whatever success Liverpool go on to have this term.

As will the commanding van Dijk, whose arrival from Southampton back in January of this year has completely transformed Liverpool’s defensive fortunes, going from a side vulnerable at the back to one of the best teams defensively in the Premier League.

The Netherlands international has brought a calming yet authoritative presence to a Reds backline in dire need of world class talent, yet his addition has also prompted the other defenders to raise their game, with Dejan Lovren in particular raising his level greatly following the Dutchman’s arrival.

And the 27-year-old was again absolutely magnificent for the Reds in their narrow success on Tuesday night, producing another stellar display to prompt McNulty to label him as ‘one of Europe’s premier defenders’ – it’s difficult to argue with such statement.

And these two have certainly played a crucial part in helping Liverpool make the step up under Klopp – the Reds were heading in the right direction under the ex-Borussia Dortmund chief, but these two focal points are now leading a side that have a real chance of winning the Premier League and/or the Champions League in 2019.

As such, McNulty’s assessment that messrs Salah and van Dijk has got fans ‘dreaming again’ is absolutely spot on – they will be integral to whatever success the club have in the second half of the season.

Liverpool fans… what do you think? Let us know!

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