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Virgil van Dijk is “a complete defender” and a £75 million addition that will provide value to Liverpool, says Joel Matip.

Having seen their frailties at the back exposed and criticised for much of the first half of the 2017-18 campaign, the Reds sought to find a solution as the winter transfer window approached.

An agreement was finally reached for long-standing target Van Dijk, with a club-record deal pushed through on January 1.

It has not been the smoothest of starts for the 26-year-old on Merseyside, amid criticism of his weight and contribution, but Matip is convinced that Liverpool have acquired one of the best in the business.

Van Dijk’s fellow centre-half told reporters on his new team-mate: “He is a great person. We can laugh together – he is good for the team and with his quality he will help the team.

“We now have more players at centre-back, so we can change if somebody is not in the best shape and there is no loss of quality.

“He will help the team, he has done it from the beginning. He is a complete defender.

“Maybe in a few moments he is more physical, but he is a complete defender, of course, who can help us in every situation.”

Van Dijk’s next outing is set to see him reunited with former club Southampton, in what promises to be a highly-charged encounter at St Mary’s and one Liverpool cannot afford to stumble in.

Jurgen Klopp’s side remain inside the Premier League’s top four at present, but the battle for Champions League spots is intensifying with six sides still in the mix.

Matip added on the Reds’ challenge against the Saints: “There are a lot of really good teams in this league, everybody knew it before.

“They have a lot of quality. But we don’t have to hide. We’re doing our job and looking forward. We’re confident we’ll do a good job in the league.

“Southampton are not in the best shape at the moment but it will be a hard and tough fight. We have to go 100 per cent to get something.

“We have a good feeling, we have enough self-confidence and we are looking forward to the game.

“We have to always stay concentrated. We have enough quality to be in front after 90 minutes.”

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