Virgil van Dijk’s importance to the Liverpool side has been well documented since the centre-back’s move to Merseyside two-and-a-half years ago, the Dutch defender having had a transformative impact upon a side which has delivered major silverware in each of the past two seasons.
The Netherlands international was a fundamental part of the Reds side which ended a three decade wait for title success this season, with the 29-year-old remarkably playing every single minute of an unforgettable campaign for Jurgen Klopp’s newly-crowned champions.
Van Dijk’s achievement has seen him join an exclusive quintet of outfield players to have played every minute in a Premier League title-winning side, and we’ve decided to look back at the stars to achieve the feat:
Gary Pallister – Manchester United (1992/93)
Gary Pallister became the first outfield player to be an ever-present in a title-winning side during the inaugural season of the newly-formed Premier League, helping Manchester United end a 26-year wait to be crowned champions of England during the 1992/93 campaign.
Pallister had been named as the PFA Player of the Year as Sir Alex Ferguson’s side finished as runners-up to Leeds the previous season, before again exerting his influence on the side with a series of commanding displays at the heart of the defence.
The England international’s performances helped United to the Premier League’s best defensive record to finish ten points clear of nearest challengers Aston Villa, Pallister named in the PFA Team of the Year – one of four successive seasons he was acknowledged amongst the finest in the division.
John Terry – Chelsea (2014/15)
It took more than two decades for another player to match Pallister’s feat and it was another of the Premier League’s finest central defenders to play every minute of a title-winning season.
John Terry’s future at Chelsea had looked uncertain as he was fazed out of the side during the 2012/13 campaign, but the return of former Blues boss Jose Mourinho to Stamford Bridge that summer saw the centre-back return as a pivotal figure for the west London side.
Terry was an indispensable member of the team that finished eight points clear of Manchester City to be crowned as champions, the Chelsea icon winning the fourth Premier League title of a career that saw him become the most successful captain in the club’s history.
Wes Morgan – Leicester (2015/16)
There can be few people who would have tipped Wes Morgan to be an ever-present captain of a Premier League title-winning side, but Leicester’s fairytale run to glory ranks as one of sport’s greatest underdog stories for good reason.
The Jamaica international led his side throughout a historic campaign to seal title success, forming a strong partnership with Robert Huth in central defence as the Foxes lost just three times all season to be crowned as champions for the first time in their history.
Claudio Ranieri’s side will forever be remembered as the team who shocked the sporting world and there was no player who played a bigger part than Morgan, the defender failing to miss a minute as the Premier League trophy was brought to the King Power Stadium.
Cesar Azpilicueta – Chelsea (2016/17)
One of Chelsea’s great bargain buys in an era of lavish spending, Cesar Azplilicueta has been a dependable servant to the west London outfit since signing from Marseille eight years ago.
The Spanish full-back has been a model of consistency for the Blues and delivered a fine individual season during their title-winning campaign in 2016/17, thriving in a new central position as Antonio Conte’s tactical switch delivered Premier League success to Stamford Bridge.
A favourite of coaches and teammates alike, dependable ‘Dave’ was switched into a back three alongside David Luiz and Gary Cahill and starred, playing every minute as Chelsea raced clear of the chasing pack to finish seven points clear of runners-up Tottenham – becoming the first side in Premier League history to register 30 wins in a single campaign.
Virgil van Dijk – Liverpool (2019/20)
The newest member of this exclusive club and a player who has had a huge impact on Liverpool‘s recent success, Virgil van Dijk was the cornerstone of a Reds defence as they secured a first title in 30 years in record-breaking fashion.
Van Dijk has brought an aura of solidity and assurance to Jurgen Klopp’s backline ever since his then world-record move from Southampton, establishing himself as the best defender in the division and arguably the finest in world football.
The Dutch defender was one of three players – alongside Roberto Firmino and Trent Alexander-Arnold – to feature in every one of Liverpool’s fixtures as the club secured the title with a record seven games to spare, though Van Dijk was the sole star to play every single minute of a historic campaign for the Merseysiders.