Liverpool defender Joe Gomez admits that he has performed well at the club as a direct result of playing alongside Virgil van Dijk.
Gomez and Van Dijk have formed a wonderful union at the heart of the Liverpool defence, with the pair establishing themselves as Jurgen Klopp’s first choice.
Van Dijk has been typically excellent but so too has Gomez, who has won each of his last 25 Premier League appearances, dating back to November 2018.
Gomez has paid tribute to the Dutchman and their "understanding".
"I've said it before but obviously, the stature of Virgil when he came to the club was obviously massive, I was just a young centre-back, hadn't really got as much games there as I would've liked," he told Sky Sports News.
"As soon as he came in, he had open arms and we get on really well.
"Off the pitch we have a great relationship, just casually speaking about general things and life. That helps on the pitch when you just have that understanding and he’s your mate at the end of the day.
"Sometimes he gives me an earful but it’s a massive help and a confidence boost, just having someone like him beside you. When there’s a one-on-one battle you know he’s going to dominate. He doesn’t lose headers at all.
"That's not just me and the team, it's the stadium. I think when Virgil goes down there’s a bit of a gasp and a worry.
"When Virgil's there he's a real dominant force. He's an incredible influence on me and someone I can look up to. He doesn’t have many flaws at all."
Gomez also spoke fondly of influential former Manchester United, Leeds and West Ham defender Rio Ferdinand, with whom he shares some stylistic similarities.
"Just being a teenager, I looked up to that pedigree of Premier League football, that top-level centre-half," he said. "Also, him just being from south-east London as well was another thing that made me look up to him.
"It’s that style of player that I like and aspire to be like."
- TEAMtalk media