Liverpool were forced to play without the Dutchman for the majority of last season. Van Dijk suffered a serious knee injury back in October 2020.
However, the defender has been fit for the entirety of the 2021-22 campaign thus far.
Ferdinand told Vibe With Five (45:06) the following: “Van Dijk’s importance in that team is there for all to see.
“Huge player. Forget his own personal performance, he can go out there and be a seven or six and a half out of ten.
“But what he gives to the other players in invaluable. The confidence that spreads when he’s in that team.
“You see that, when he’s not in there, other players look unstable. One of the centre-backs, whoever plays, doesn’t look the same player.
“Trent hasn’t looked as convincing sometimes when Van Dijk’s not in the team. I think it spreads in the team. He has a big impact.”
ANFIELD WATCH VERDICT
As Ferdinand implied, the entire defence missed Van Dijk last season.
During the 2019-20 Premier League campaign, Liverpool only conceded 33 goals in 38 games. Van Dijk was fit for the entire season.
Last season, the Reds conceded 42 goals in 38 top-flight fixtures. As we have already pointed out, the Dutchman missed a large chunk of the 2020-21 campaign.
The aforementioned figures highlight that it was not just Alexander-Arnold that missed Van Dijk last season.
The centre-back was named runner-up for the 2019 Ballon d'Or, which provides an insight into how good he is.
Therefore, we are not surprised that Liverpool are worse off when Van Dijk is unavailable for selection.