What Antonio Rudiger and Thiago Silva did to earn the respect of Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk – football.london – Football.London

Antonio Rudiger and Thiago Silva have played at an elite standard since Thomas Tuchel took over the managerial reigns form Chelsea legend Frank Lampard midway through last season.

Their superb defensive performances contributed heavily to the club picking up their second illustrious Champions League title at the end of last season and have even helped in kickstarting the Blues’ title charge this year.

Sixteen points from a possible 21 doesn’t make bad reading for a side who had to face the daunting challenges early on in the form of Liverpool and Manchester City.

Despite what looked like a difficult start to the season, Chelsea topped the league standings at the time of writing and this has largely been down to the contributions of the defensive pair in the back three, coupled with the clinical edge upfront which has made a big difference already since Romelu Lukaku’s £97.5million arrival in the summer.

Four clean sheets in the first seven Premier League games, coupled with the three goals conceded so far this season in the top flight of English football has demonstrated the defensive resilience and excellence ever-present in Rudiger’s and Silva’s locker.

Amid constant praise from manager Thomas Tuchel, an opposition defender in the form of £75million-rated Virgil Van Dijk has highlighted the quality of the west London duo with his recent quotes.

Speaking about the best defenders in the build-up to Liverpool’s Super Sunday clash with title contenders Man City, the tall and commanding centre-half admitted his admiration for the Chelsea pair in his assessment of the centre-backs.

“There’s so many good defenders out there,” van Dijk told Sky Sports via the Metro.

“The old guys Sergio Ramos, Thiago Silva, Gerard Pique.

“The game has evolved and defending is different.

“If you look at Laporte and Rudiger. I think he had a fantastic season last year and the way he came back from a knee injury, I have even more respect for him now.”

Both central defenders played the full 90 minutes in the west Londoners’ important 3-1 victory over Southampton on Saturday and they both scored fairly well in the player ratings that consequently followed the final whistle.

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