Andy Cole explains why he would have "loved" playing against Virgil van Dijk

Ex-Manchester United striker Andy Cole says he would have relished playing against Virgil van Dijk – and thinks he would have got the better of the Liverpool star.

Since joining the Reds from Southampton in 2018 Van Dijk has formed a reputation as one of the best defenders in the world, and was runner-up only to Lionel Messi in last year's Ballon d'Or.

But the Dutchman has had an inauspicious start to the 2019-20 campaign, making a big error in the 4-3 win over Leeds on the first day of the season and lining up as part of the defence that shipped seven goals against Aston Villa last weekend.

And speaking to Sunday World, Cole stated his opinion that he would have been able to expose Van Dijk's weaknesses if he were still playing.

"Van Dijk is a really good player, but I’m the kind of individual who would love to have played against him – and I feel like I would have got to him," Cole said.

"You want to test yourself against the best and he is the best at the moment, without a doubt, but I like to look at defenders and find weaknesses in them and we have seen a few with Van Dijk in the last few months.

"I watched him in the opening game of the season against Leeds and the strikers who give him problems are the ones who run in behind him and stretch him. They scored three goals that day and he didn’t look like he enjoyed the experience.

"He is a Rolls Royce of a defender, but he didn’t like putting his foot down and chasing back when people were getting in behind him.

"That’s what I would have done all day when I was at my best, so I would probably have been his worst nightmare if I was playing against him."

Van Dijk will hope to put in a much-improved performance when Liverpool face bitter rivals and table-toppers Everton in the Merseyside Derby on Saturday.

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