Darren Bent heaped praise on Liverpool defender Virgil Van Dijk following his performance in the 2-1 win over Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Laura O’Leary, the former Tottenham striker gushed about the Reds centre-back as he stepped up to impress in a difficult clash with Palace.

The 28-year-old enforcer was making his 19th appearance of the season on Saturday and has notably not missed a minute of the Reds’ Premier League campaign so far.

Bent listed off several qualities that Van Dijk possesses as a defender before admitting that a player of his calibre allows Jurgen Klopp’s side to play poorly and still rack up results.

When asked if Van Dijk proved his quality with a standout display against Palace, Bent told Football Insider: “Well yeah, he doesn’t have to prove anything to us now as he is arguably the best centre-back in world football.

“But yeah he is class, brilliant, and in games like that which are nitty-gritty, you need your defenders to stand up and be counted.

“He reads the game really really well, he puts his body on the line and he is a world class defender so when you have a game like that, you need your real leaders to step up and take charge and yesterday was a prime example of that.

“I don’t think Liverpool were at their very best, but when you have players and defenders like that, you don’t necessarily have to be to win games.”

The Dutch centre-back has been at Anfield since January 2018 after joining from Southampton and has made a total of 91 appearances for the Merseyside club.

Van Dijk is contracted to stay with the Reds until 2023 and was the sixth Reds player to join the Reds from Southampton since 2014.

In other Liverpool news, Palace have made contact over signing a player who Klopp is ready to let go.