The defender has had such a big impact at his club that his fee has been forgotten, according to his team-mate

Liverpool attacker Sadio Mane praised Virgil van Dijk for his impact at the club, saying the Dutchman had proven to be one of the world’s best defenders.

Van Dijk was signed by Liverpool from Southampton for a reported £75million in January, putting him under pressure to deliver.

But the 27-year-old has starred under Jurgen Klopp, whose team hold a four-point lead atop the Premier League.

Mane, who has seven league goals and an assist this season, said Van Dijk’s fee had been forgotten thanks to his performances.

“It’s been a big, big impact. We’ve all seen it. Of course at the time he signed people were thinking that the club had overpaid for Virgil,” he told reporters.

“But since then everyone has forgotten about the fee because his form has been so good.

“He’s done such a great job for us back there. I am so happy to have him as a team-mate.

“He’s one of the leaders. You can see it in every single game. He has proved he’s one of the best defenders in the world.”

Van Dijk scored his first Premier League goal for Liverpool during their 2-0 win over Wolves on Friday and Mane was quick to top fun at his team-mate. 

“I said to Virgil: ‘Finally, you have scored in the Premier League for us!’” Mane joked.

“It had been a long time. Everyone is happy for him and he’s such a good player that I’m sure that more goals will follow for him.”

Liverpool got a bit of help on Saturday with Crystal Palace taking a win over Manchester City, and Jurgen Klopp’s men now hold a four-point lead atop the Premier League. 

They’ll be back in action quickly, with Newcastle up next on Boxing Day and a clash with Arsenal to come on December 29 to close out 2018. 

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