Jamie Carragher admits he has been stunned by the performances of Vrigil van Dijk since his world record transfer to Liverpool.
Jurgen Klopp had hoped to sign the former Southampton defender last summer but had to wait until January to land his primary defensive target.
Eyes were raised when Liverpool spent £75million on the 27-year-old but he has contributed enormously to his sides rapidly improving defensive displays.
Van Dijk was at his commanding best in Liverpools 2-0 win at Crystal Palace on Monday night, completing 73 of his 79 passes and producing a game-high eight clearances and 16 aerial duels, and Carragher believes the Netherlands international has all the ability to rival Alan Hansen as one of the clubs greatest defenders of all-time.
I knew Van Dijk was a good player, but he is better than what I thought, Carragher told Sky Sports.
Weve always said Liverpool cant win the Premier League because of their defence, but now they have Van Dijk, who I think is the best centre back in the Premier League.
I cant think of a defender off the top of my head that is better. Hes the man to step into the positon Vincent Kompany has had over the last four seasons as that leader and colossus.
They are very similar as players – there is nothing they lack. When Kompany was at his best three years ago, I didnt think there was a centre-back that was better than him.
Over the next three or four years, if Liverpool could win a league or a Champions League, I think Van Dijk has the potential to actually go down alongside Alan Hansen if were talking about Liverpools best ever teams – thats how good he is and how good he can become.
If Liverpool under Klopp win something big, and Van Dijk is at the centre of it, he should be disappointed if hes not alongside Hansen when people talk about the great Liverpool centre-backs.
There isnt another centre-back that ticks almost every boxes in terms of presence, pace, strength and ability on the ball.
Normally a player has a couple of those, they are lacking somewhere else and their defensive partner will cover some of those areas. Van Dijk has all of them at the moment.
Players and leaders like him have to be the ones that take Liverpool to something big. Thats when youll be remembered, when you win something big.
More: Liverpool FC