Man Utd legend Andy Cole claims he would have been Liverpool ace Virgil van Dijk's 'worst nightmare' during playing days

MANCHESTER United legend Andy Cole claims he would have been Liverpool defender Virgil Van Dijk's 'worst nightmare' during his playing days.

The Reds centre-back has endured a start to the season well below his usual lofty standards.


Liverpool stuttered to a win against Leeds on the opening day with Van Dijk to blame for one of the three goals they conceded.

Then a few weeks later he was helpless to stop Aston Villa destroying the Liverpool defence, hitting them for seven during an extraordinary night at Villa Park.

In between those two games, they conceded a soft goal against Arsenal during a 3-1 win at Anfield and the club's only league clean sheet so far this season came against 10-man Chelsea.

Cole, 48, who is the third-highest scorer in Premier League history with 187 goals, believes he could've gotten the better of the out-of-form Dutchman.

He told Sunday World: "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.

"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."

While Cole still rates the 29-year-old highly, he says his own playing style would've been the 'worst nightmare' for Van Dijk to handle.

He adds: "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 is widely regarded as one of the best defenders in the world, and has lead Liverpool from the back during both their Champions League and Premier League triumphs.

He joined in January 2018 and almost overnight transformed the Liverpool defence from unreliable and haphazard to dependable and robust.

But he has struggled with form this season and, like Liverpool overall, looks short of last year's standards so far.

Ex-Villa striker Gabby Agbonlahor stuck the boot in and called him 'arrogant' after his display against Leeds, claiming he still could not be compared to the likes of Rio Ferdinand or Vincent Kompany.

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