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Van Dijk one of the world's best defenders – Mane

Liverpool attacker Sadio Mane praised Virgil van Dijk for his impact at the club, saying the Dutchman had proven to be one of the world's best defenders.

Van Dijk was signed by Liverpool from Southampton for a reported £75million in January, putting him under pressure to deliver.

But the 27-year-old has starred under Jurgen Klopp, whose team hold a four-point lead atop the Premier League.

Mane, who has seven league goals and an assist this season, said Van Dijk's fee had been forgotten thanks to his performances.

"It's been a big, big impact. We've all seen it. Of course at the time he signed people were thinking that the club had overpaid for Virgil," he told UK newspapers.

"But since then everyone has forgotten about the fee because his form has been so good.

"He's done such a great job for us back there. I am so happy to have him as a team-mate.

"He's one of the leaders. You can see it in every single game. He has proved he's one of the best defenders in the world."

Van Dijk scored his first Premier League goal for Liverpool during their 2-0 win over Wolves on Friday.