Phil Thompson: Van Dijk is incredible – but he’s not the best Liverpool defender ever

Big Virg ain't bad, but he's no Alan Hansen


Our football ambassador Phil Thompson was the latest guest on Monday’s From The Horse’s Mouth podcast, with the Liverpool legend taking time out of his busy schedule for an in-depth chat with Paddy Power and Ruby Walsh.

The former centre-back won seven league titles as well as three European Cups during his trophy-laden time at Anfield, and Thommo seen his fair share of top-quality defenders at the club – joking that even Virgil van Dijk might have struggled to get a spot in the team when the Reds were flying in the 70s and 80s.

There have been some great defenders at Liverpool. Virgil van Dijk is incredible.

Alan Hansen was the best central defender that I’ve ever seen, next to Bobby Moore.

Bobby Moore was truly amazing. I know a lot of people wouldn’t have seen him, but if you watched him play he was effortless in what he did. He wasn’t the tallest and he wasn’t the quickest, but his positional play and tackling was superb. His use of the ball was wonderful.

Bobby Moore England World Cup final July 30, 1966

Hansen could do all that. He was a Rolls Royce of a footballer, and he was fantastic.

I started off at Liverpool with Emlyn Hughes. Then it was me and Alan Hansen, and then it was Hansen and Mark Lawrenson then Gary Gillespie. There are some wonderful players.

You look at Van Dijk, and he might have just got in our reserve team at the time!


Virgil van Dijk Liverpool Premier League

Playing for Everton?

I could never see myself in Blue. Hand on heart, I could never do it. I know Jamie Carragher has switched over, and he’s an even bigger Liverpool fan than me, but I could never.

We had a few players that went from Liverpool to Everton. People think that I absolutely hate Everton, and yes I disliked them, because it was the way I was brought up.

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I dreaded going into school after Everton had beaten us on a derby day. And when we beat them on derby day, I couldn’t wait to go into school on Monday morning with my scarf on rubbing it into the Evertonians.

My mum was a big Liverpool fan who went to games when she was younger. My dad was an Evertonian, but he was away at sea most of the time and was never really a great football fan. Seven of us kids were all brought up proper Reds, so it was in me all the way up through my school years and I signed for Liverpool when I was 15.

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