Micah Richards can't get over the size of Virgil van Dijk

Micah Richards has been left drooling over Liverpool skipper Virgil van Dijk... almost literally it seems.

The Reds' captain has been in imperious form this season and is a strong contender for 2023/24 player of the season awards, with his dominant displays helping Liverpool to the top of the Premier League table.

No defender compares to Van Dijk on the key defensive metrics, while the 32-year-old also has a habit of coming up clutch in the big moments as he did in the Carabao Cup final against Chelsea.

The Dutchman could yet end his first season as Liverpool captain with three trophies should the Reds sign off Jurgen Klopp's final campaign with a Premier League title and Europa League crown.

Discussing Van Dijk on the Rest is Football podcast, ex-Manchester City defender turned pundit Richards waxed lyrical about the centre back, apparently most impressed by the sheer size of him.

He said: “The size of him, honestly, I’m a big guy and he just dwarfed me.

“I was like what is going on? He’s so slender and he’s a good looking lad, isn’t he, Virg?”

For reference, Richards is around 5ft 11in (180cm) compared to Van Dijk's 6ft 5in (195cm).

25th February 2024 Wembley Stadium, London, England Carabao League Cup Final Football, Chelsea versus Liverpool Virgil van Dijk of Liverpool celebrates after he scores for 0-1 in extra time ActionPlus12612125 ShaunxBrooks

Only Joel Matip and Rhys Williams can match Van Dijk's stature in the current Liverpool squad, while the Dutchman is also one of the Premier League's tallest outfield players.

Neville appreciates Van Dijk's aura

Richards is not the only pundit lavishing praise on Liverpool's No. 4 of late. Former Manchester United right back Gary Neville picked Van Dijk as the Reds' star who he would most like to see be at his old club to help turn things around.

“I would say [Virgil] van Dijk,” Neville said on The Overlap. “I just think that Van Dijk would bring dominance to the team and a presence in the team that we haven’t got. We haven’t got a forward as good as Mo Salah, but we’ve got talented forwards.

“I always think if you’ve got a spine of strength and presence… We always say, don’t we, ‘Oh, there’s no Roy Keanes anymore, there’s no Vincent Kompanys anymore, there’s no John Terrys’ – there actually is one now at Liverpool, when you think about how he’s performed this season, Van Dijk. He’s a massive presence on that pitch.

“He’s not the same character as some of those that I’ve mentioned, but he actually is quite dominant on the pitch. He speaks a lot more than people might think, and he actually is someone you can see that’s got an aura about him.”

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