Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk: World-Record £75M Fee 'Wasn't a Big Issue'
Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk said he did not feel extra pressure at Anfield after he arrived for a world-record £75 million fee.
The Dutchman became the most expensive defender in history when he joined Liverpool in January 2018 from Southampton, though he was recently knocked off the top of the list by Harry Maguire after Manchester United splashed out £80 million on him this summer.
Per Goal's Dejan Kalinic Van Dijk said of his transfer fee:
"It wasn't a big issue for me. It's something you don't have an influence on.
"It happens, it's the market, and the only thing you can do is put your head down and start playing, give everything for the team.
"That's what I did, and it [has] worked so far. I'll just try to keep doing that, keep progressing and be a better player."
The 28-year-old has already gone some way to repaying the faith put in him by the Reds.
In the 2017-18 season, Liverpool had shipped 28 goals in 23 Premier League matches prior to his debut. Van Dijk played in 14 of their final 15 games, and in that time they conceded just 10.
Last season, he played a key role in Liverpool boasting the best defensive record in the English top flight with 22 goals conceded. He started all 38 games and failed to complete 90 minutes just once.
Van Dijk also helped Liverpool reach back-to-back UEFA Champions League finals, and they won the second of those against Tottenham Hotspur in June.
In both the Premier League and the Champions League, getting past the defender proved impossible for his opponents:
As Liverpool.com's Joel Rabinowitz observed, he contributes at the other end of the pitch, too:
Maguire will be under pressure to have a comparable impact at Old Trafford, not only because of the fee but also in light of Van Dijk's impressive handling of similar circumstances at Anfield, which will invite comparison.
United conceded 54 Premier League goals last season, a record bettered by 10 other teams, so there's plenty of scope for improvement there.
The England international's arrival should help in that regard, but replicating Van Dijk's transformative impact at Liverpool will be difficult.