Liverpool have been linked to two central defenders, but who would be the better signing for the Reds. Liverpool last central defensive signing was Joel Matip, who has been one of the best defenders in the league and he was a free transfer.
Virgil van Dijk has enjoyed a great season with Southampton, leading to him being linked with Chelsea, Liverpool, and Manchester City. The Reds have also been rumoured to be interested in Senegalese defender Kalidou Koulibaly who currently plays for Napoli and he has been a major component of the Serie A side’s defence. Let’s have a look at the statistics and see who is better and who would suit LFC.
Virgil van Dijk has a pass completion of 84% per 90 minutes, which is less than Koulibaly, who has 90%. This did surprise me, as van Dijk was supposed to be the defender who was the ball player and Koulibaly was the destroyer. Having a look at the Tackles won, it is Koulibaly who comes out on top again, winning 1.65 tackles a game, which is more than the 1.43 tackles that van Dijk wins. Though Virgil van Dijk does win out in some of the other stats, including interceptions, winning 2.67 interceptions per game, compared to the 2.04 of Koulibaly. However, both have made more than Matip at Liverpool, with the Cameroonian only making 1.37 interceptions per game. Both van Dijk and Koulibaly would be and upgrade in this regard. Van Dijk also clears makes more clearances per match than Koulibaly. Lastly, Virgil van Dijk hasn’t made a defensive error which have lead to a goal in the 21 games he has played whereas Koulibaly, on the other hand, has made 2 errors in fewer matches.
Taking all these stats into consideration, we can say that they are pretty even. We can now talk about the other things which would influence this comparison. Virgil van Dijk is currently playing in the Premier League which would put him up one as Koulibaly doesn’t have Premier League experience. The second is the price, with van Dijk we could be talking £50 million, whereas Koulibaly would cost £60 million. I would personally want van Dijk over Koulibaly as I have seen van Dijk more and he does have more Premier League experience.