Liverpool told their Virgil van Dijk successor is now at Everton

Dutch national media tell Liverpool that their natural Virgil van Dijk successor is currently playing for Everton. It won't be easy to get him.

Virgil van Dijk is playing some incredible football once again this season. The Liverpool captain is back to his best - or remarkably close to it - and seems to carry the Reds' defence at times.

Nothing new there, of course.

The big question surrounding Van Dijk, though is less about what he's doing for Liverpool now, but rather who does it after him. He's now 32, has suffered a bad knee injury, and won't be at this level for too much longer.

Of course, replacing the world's best defender - and one of the very best ever seen in the Premier League - is virtually impossible. No one else is on his level, while the chances of young defenders reaching that level are incredibly slim.

But there's now a claim in the Dutch media that Van Dijk's natural replacement is already on Merseyside - just playing in Blue.

Voetbal International journalist Süleyman Öztürk is very impressed with Jarrad Branthwaite and believes Liverpool should push to sign him.

“That stopping power; he stops and then waits," he told VI. "The timing of his interceptions is special. He has height, footballing ability the timing for interceptions.

"He’s only 21 years old and in Sean Dyche has a trainer who is focused on defending and organising. He’s developed a few defenders.

“If I were Liverpool, I would buy him as a successor to Van Dijk. I really think he is the revelation of this season at Everton in the Premier League. He’s already leader in a defence at a club in big trouble. The fact that at 21 you play in the starting line up in a Sean Dyche team is not easy.”

Branthwaite has certainly impressed this season, leading to reports that Everton have a £75m price-tag on him. Coincidentally, what Liverpool paid for Van Dijk in 2018.

But really, that's just a price-tag for every club that isn't Liverpool. Everton are not going to sell their star asset to their rivals unless the bid is truly outrageous. Transfers between the two used to be reasonably common, but none have happened since Abel Xavier moved to Anfield in 2002.

In other words, Branthwaite could be the perfect Van Dijk successor but he certainly won't fill that role at Liverpool.

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