Chelsea forward Tammy Abraham has paid tribute to Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk. When asked about the toughest opponent he has faced, the striker praised the Dutchman’s defensive qualities:
“He’s a beast. He’s just good at what he does. He’s experienced. I try to do a little… I try to use my tricks in my head but his understanding of the game is top drawer.”
“It is to do with little things. Movement. My movement in the box, some defenders don’t pay attention to me – they are only focussed on the ball.”
“With him, it’s kind of both, he’s paying attention to me and the ball knows where I am, knows where I want to go, follows me. It’s quite annoying for a striker – just leave me alone!”
Abraham has faced van Dijk twice this season already, playing against him in the UEFA Super Cup final and in the league game last month. The 21-year-old did not get on the scoresheet on either occasion.
Considering the England international has scored an impressive nine goals in 11 appearances so far this campaign, van Dijk’s ability to keep the in-form striker quiet is a testament to his ability.
While he wasn’t named as FIFA’s Best Player last month, he was awarded UEFA’s Player of the Year and he is a leading contender to win the Ballon d’Or in December.
Van Dijk’s form has, though, fluctuated in recent matches with the Dutchman not having his best of games against Salzburg or Leicester but Liverpool fans will be hoping he’s back to his absolute best against Manchester United following the international break.