Thursday, 28 December 2017

Virgil van Dijk’s signing ‘fantastic’ for Liverpool – Claude Puel

Leicester boss Claude Puel believes Virgil van Dijk can establish himself as the best defender in world football following his record £75m move to Liverpool.

Van Dijk was handed the captain’s armband by Puel last season during the Frenchman’s year-long spell in charge of Southampton.

Leicester head to Anfield in the Premier League on Saturday, but Van Dijk will not be coming up against his former manager as his move to Merseyside will only be completed when the transfer window opens on January 1.

Puel said: “He is one of the best defenders in the world and he has all the qualities to become the best. It is fantastic for Liverpool.

“He can play in different good teams and it is a good reward for him. At the beginning of the season it was difficult for him because he wanted to join another club but now he will find his level. I am happy for him, and happy he can’t play against us!

“Of course I don’t know if it is the right price but for me he is a fantastic player, fantastic defender. I had him for six months and then for the last six months he was injured.

“In those first six months he made progress and developed his play. He has all the qualities. He is powerful, has pace and he is comfortable on the ball. He is tall and also has a strong character and personality.”

Puel, who went unbeaten in four matches as Southampton boss against Liverpool last season, is hoping the Foxes can end their four-game winless run in all competitions when they visit Anfield this weekend.

He said: “They are a great team with good defenders, midfield and attacking players. They are a complete team. We have to look after our play and try to play our game against them.

“We had good opportunities and good results recently against big teams like against Manchester United, Manchester City and Tottenham. We like the big occasion.”

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