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Liverpool defender van Dijk has progressed 'step by step' - Kwakman

Virgil van Dijk's former Groningen teammate Kees Kwakman admits he never envisaged the Liverpool man becoming the most expensive defender in the world.

Liverpool paid Southampton £75 million for the Dutchman in January and has immeasurably improved Jurgen Klopp's defence.

Van Dijk started out at Groningen and his former centre-back partner Kwakman says he progressed slowly at the Eredivisie club.

"Did we see then that he would be the most expensive defender in the world? If I said yes, I would be lying," he admitted to Goal. "It went step by step.

"At first, we thought 'OK this is a talented player'. After a few weeks, it was 'alright, he has his place in the starting line-up', and then after six months it was 'he has nothing to do with us in Groningen'. So, it was progressive.

"When I arrived, he was very young. He was not yet a regular part of the first team. But from the first weeks, you could see he was a player apart.

"A great defender, of course, but he was also very good and comfortable with the ball at his feet.

"It was obvious that he was a real talent, and he quickly gained his place in the starting line-up. And it did not take too long to see that he was a really great player."

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Freddie Taylor

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