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Former Liverpool defender Mark Lawrenson has indicated that Virgil van Dijk deserves to win the PFA Player of the Year accolade, given the influence he has had on the team this term. The Netherlands international joined the Reds from Southampton during the backend of the previous season and he has since helped transform the club’s backline into one of Europe’s best.

Speaking on BBC Sport, Lawrenson stressed that the Dutchman has been one of the most reliable players in the top-flight this season and he has not been hampered by the fact that he has played with different partners at the heart of the defence. He added to compare the centre-back with the likes of John Terry and Tony Adams by suggesting his dominance in the Reds’ defence.

He said: “We know about Van Dijk's ability and his leadership but the most impressive thing is that he has played with a succession of different centre-back partners this season: Dejan Lovren, Joe Gomez, Joel Matip and even Fabinho. Has it affected the team? No, because it is all about him. Honestly, he is so good, he is at that moment where John Terry and Tony Adams were at their peak - where you can play anybody with them and it doesn't make any difference whatsoever.”

Liverpool are currently at the top of the Premier League after 35 games played but they still don’t hold the advantage, considering Manchester City have an extra game in hand to cover up the two-point deficit. Nonetheless, the club’s faithful remain optimistic of ending the club’s wait for a maiden Premier League crown and it remains to be seen whether the Citizens drop points.

Pep Guardiola’s team are scheduled to face Manchester United on the road during the midweek Manchester derby and many have touted the game to make or break the Reds’ ambition of lifting the title. United go into the game with just two wins from eight matches, but they are certain to give their utmost to stall the Citizens’ title bid.