Man City’s Dias close to matching reputation of Liverpool giant Van Dijk

Ruben Dias is starting to get a reputation like Virgil van Dijk – players are scared to take him on.

I wasn’t sure about him at first, coming in from Portugal where the league is nowhere near as strong.

I wondered if he was going to be good enough because they didn’t have to fight off five or six teams to sign him, did they? But wow what a signing. He has been absolutely phenomenal and he is starting to remind me of Van Dijk now.

Both players have the same fear factor about them. I see players looking up on a dribble and thinking: ‘Oh I can’t beat HIM…’

Even when City played Liverpool. Mo Salah did it. He only had to beat Dias one on one and he was away. But he didn’t fancy it.

City’s Achilles heel was always that they couldn’t defend. But Dias has come in, John Stones has cut out the mistakes, and suddenly they don’t let goals in.

They’ve only let 15 goals in so far this season in the league. That’s phenomenal. Now, the title race is over. One hundred per cent. It would take the biggest blow-up ever for City to lose it now.

They would have to lose four times, and that just isn’t going to happen. It’s all over in my opinion. I think City have put themselves in an unbelievable position to win the Champions League as well now.

They have enough points that they can rest players. They can do what teams like Bayern Munich and Barcelona do every year and rest most of their team.

City have always played lovely football but Pep Guardiola has tightened them up at the back this season and they don’t let you break on them so much. Even when they last won the league, they would open games up all the time and try to outscore you.

Then, in the Champions League, it would hurt them because they were playing better teams and they conceded too many goals.

Full credit to Guardiola because they were only ever going to be bit-part players in the Champions League playing like that.

They are a more complete team now. I think the way they have changed will help them in the Champions League. They are in a better position to win it than ever before.

The old City used to be so reliant on Fernandinho. Now they hardly use him. If you took Fernandinho out of that team, they would struggle at times.

But you could take anyone out of this team and they would be okay. They are top of the league and flying without Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero.

Stones didn’t play against Everton. Neither did Ilkay Gundogan and he’s been on fire. But they played in third gear and still won comfortably. Take Van Dijk out of this Liverpool team and look what’s happened. It’s all fallen apart. That’s the difference.

Fair play to Guardiola. He has got it right this season, and this City team looks hungry. They mean business.

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  • Mikel Arteta deserves more time to get things right at Arsenal than Jose Mourinho does at Tottenham.

    People talk about Mourinho’s job being under threat and say why isn’t Arteta under more pressure when Arsenal are two points behind Spurs and have played a game more.

    But look at it the other way – Arsenal could hardly have been any worse this season and are ONLY two points behind.

    You’ve got to remember that Spurs were in a Champions League final not long ago. They’ve been in the title race in recent years.

    Arsenal have been way off that so Arteta has a much lower starting point than Mourinho.

    He is doing what the board want, getting the wage bill down by getting rid of people and bringing some of the young players through.

    They are going to be inconsistent because young players are going to be up and down. I like what he’s doing.

    But if I was a Tottenham fan I’d be disappointed. They were top of the league this season. Now they’re 20 points behind!

    Liverpool could go looking for revenge against Everton after what happened in the last derby.

    None of Everton’s players went out to hurt anyone from Liverpool. What happened to Virgil Van Dijk was an accident.

    The same with Thiago because Richarlison was clearly trying to pull out of that tackle.

    But I know plenty of players from my era who wouldn’t forget. Tony Adams once waited nearly a year to get his retaliation in on someone.

    There could be some Liverpool players out for the same thing this weekend – and if they are losing there could be fireworks.

    If the fans were in the stadium it would definitely be blood and thunder with tackles flying in.

    I think the season is on the line for both teams. Everton were going well, took their eye off the ball against Fulham and now it could be three defeats in a row.

    But Liverpool have already lost three in a row in the league and can’t afford to lose again if they want to finish in the top four.

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