FourFourTwo April 2019

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Published 6th March

“A great attack wins you games, a great defence wins you titles.” That was the mantra of Alex Ferguson, a man who, let's be honest, knows a thing or two about winning major trophies.

It’s a theory that was surely in Jurgen Klopp’s thinking when he dropped a cool £75 million to take this month’s cover star to Liverpool last January, and the signs are that it was money well spent. We suspect most at Anfield would agree.

Virgil van Dijk has brought solidity to the Reds’ previously porous backline, and if they do go the distance and finally win the Premier League this season, his contribution will have been the difference.

We headed to Merseyside to meet the totemic defender, who told us how street football, a mouthy coach, and dicing with death have given him the mental fortitude to take him to the top – not to mention drag his team along with him.

We also celebrate the most iconic centre-backs the game has ever seen, spend time with Manchester United's Ander Herrera, Spurs winger Lucas Moura and Chelsea's Ruben Loftus-Cheek, and visit Thessaloniki – home to the most bonkers fans in the world – to watch PAOK take on bitter rivals Olympiakos.