An intriguing analysis has scrutinized the performance statistics of Virgil van Dijk, William Saliba, and Ruben Dias in the current Premier League season. Recognized as top-tier center-backs for Liverpool, Arsenal, and Manchester City respectively, each player has showcased commendable skills.
Van Dijk, a defensive stalwart for Liverpool since his £75 million transfer from Southampton in 2018, assumed the role of club captain after Jordan Henderson’s departure. Saliba, having joined Arsenal in 2019, honed his skills during loan spells at Saint-Etienne, Nice, and Marseille, returning as a key player. Dias, having joined Manchester City from Benfica in 2020, has consistently demonstrated professionalism and defensive prowess.
In evaluating their performances this season using the ‘Opta Performance Index’ from Squawka, Van Dijk emerges as the standout performer. Leading in most critical defensive categories, he demonstrates elite-level play.
Saliba excels in ball recoveries, forward passes, and ground duels won, showcasing remarkable skills despite a significant age gap.
Although Dias doesn’t surpass Van Dijk or Saliba in specific categories, his Opta Performance Index rating is a solid 81, on par with Van Dijk and one point higher than Saliba. Notably, Van Dijk’s exceptional performances become even more impressive considering his recovery from a serious ACL injury.
Acknowledging his injury, Van Dijk shared, “My injury was very serious…But now I don’t notice it anymore. I haven’t had to change much in my way of playing, I have the feeling that I can do everything again.”
Liverpool, currently holding the second position in the table, has witnessed a notable improvement compared to the previous season. Van Dijk reflected on the past season, admitting its mediocrity but expressed satisfaction with the positive turnaround, stating, “Things have been going very well again since the summer.”