The Dutchman heaped praise upon his defensive colleague following the Reds 6-0 thrashing of Leeds
Liverpool talisman Virgil van Dijk had admitted that he wishes he had the same “quality” as Joel Matip in terms of dribbling ability.
The Reds stormed to a 6-0 win over Leeds at Anfield in midweek to move to within three points of Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table.
Matip and Van Dijk both managed to get on the scoresheet, with the former drawing praise from his defensive partner after finally getting a reward for his mazy runs into the final third.
Matip combined with Mohamed Salah before producing a neat finish to put Liverpool 2-0 up on the night, and Van Dijk has admitted to being jealous of his ball-carrying skills.
“It’s a big quality of him – I wish I had that quality at times!” the Dutchman told the clubs official website after the game.
“He just can go without any fear at all and hope for the best a little bit! But he has that quality. It’s a big strength of him and obviously it’s useful because it drags other players from their position and today obviously the space was there to make that run and finish it off.
“I said to him already before the game I felt it coming because he had an assist for Diogo [Jota] and I said, ‘A goal is next!’ so I’m obviously very happy for him.”
Pressed on whether supporters are seeing the best of Matip now that hes injury-free, Van Dijk added: “I think also himself, mentally he is at a good place.
“I think the four of us, because we cannot forget Joe [Gomez], who is obviously not even in the squad at the moment, but four of us are keeping each other as sharp as we can.
“We need everyone and obviously it’s very good to see that he is fit, he is playing on a high level and whether I play with him, Ibou [Konate] or Joe, it’s always good to be out there together and work hard.”
Salah scored two penalties against Leeds and Sadio Mane also bagged a brace before Van Dijk rounded off the scoring late on as Liverpool picked up a sixth consecutive league victory.
The Netherlands international expressed his delight with how the Reds were able to combat Leeds high-energy style of play and also talked up the contribution of Salah and Mane in front of goal.
“A very good win against a difficult opponent; difficult in the way that they play a certain way that is intense, intense with running,” said Van Dijk. “They never give up so we had to be ready to fight, to do the hard work and make the extra metres and I think we did that very well.
“He [Salah] is chasing records but he knows that first and foremost we want to achieve good things during this season. He has a big part to play in that with his goals, but also with his defending, with his work-rate and stuff. Obviously two goals again, Sadio two goals again, so an incredible game for them.”