Date: 12th August 2019 at 8:00am
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Garth Crooks was blown away by Virgil van Dijk’s performance for Liverpool as the European champions won 4-1 against Norwich at Anfield on Friday night.

Van Dijk, 28, scored his eighth Liverpool goal as Jurgen Klopp’s men started their 2019/20 campaign with an emphatic victory over the newly-promoted Canaries.

BBC pundit Crooks has been impressed with the way that van Dijk has started to transform into more of a goal threat for Liverpool and believes that the Netherlands international should be a shoo-in to win the Balon d’Or for this year.

“Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk is fast becoming as imposing a figure in the opposition penalty area as he is in his own,” said Crooks on the BBC Sport website.

“The beautiful lofted pass for Joel Matip to score in the Community Shield along with his headed goal against Norwich – where not one Canaries player could shift or compete with the presence of this colossus – proves the point.

“Van Dijk was one of the few star performers in an otherwise dull Champions League final and should, in my view, win this year’s Ballon d’Or.

“Not since Fabio Cannavaro lifted the World Cup for Italy has a defender won this illustrious award. It’s time Van Dijk did.”

OPINION

Is there anything that hasn’t been said about van Dijk that already isn’t out there? We could talk for days about how good the former Southampton defender has been for Liverpool in the defence, but there is never that much said about his impact at the other end of the pitch when the Reds are in attack. Scoring goals is not a new thing for van Dijk. The 28-year-old has now scored 37 goals in his career across all competitions in spells at Groningen, Celtic, Southampton and Liverpool. He has always been a threat at set-pieces due to his height and ability to position himself and head the ball with the correct power and precision. Should van Dijk win the Balon d’Or? More pundits are suggesting that he should in comparison to the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, who might be the only two players capable of finishing close to the Dutchman in the race for the illustrious award.