Liverpool news: Ryan Babel makes encouraging Van Dijk claim | Football | Sport

That is the claim of former Reds forward and fellow Netherlands international Ryan Babel.

Babel will come head-to-head with ex-club Liverpool for the first time since he left in January 2011 with Jurgen Klopp’s side taking on Fulham at Craven Cottage tomorrow (2.15pm).

The 32-year-old has endured spells across Europe and even the Middle East before joining Fulham in the January transfer window.

Babel’s re-emergence has seen him break back into the Dutch national team – now captained by Van Dijk.

The towering £75million defender has been a hugely-influential presence at Anfield, helping transform Liverpool into a force in the Premier League and in Europe.

Van Dijk scored and assisted another goal in mid-week as the Merseyside outfit dumped Bayern Munich out of the Champions League to advance to the quarter finals.

But returning to their domestic ambitions of a first title since 1990, Liverpool travel to strugglers Fulham knowing a win will at least temporarily restore them atop the Premier League table above title rivals Manchester City.

And while Babel believes Van Dijk – who is tipped to win the English top-flight’s Player of the Year award – can still improve much more, he thinks he knows how to 

Van Dijk’s imperious campaign means his errors can be counted on less than one hand having arguably been one of the most consistent performers on the continent and not just in England.

Yet Babel – who scored 22 times in 146 games for Liverpool across four seasons – believes he knows how to expose the former Celtic and Southampton man.

Talking to The Times, Babel declared: “Virgil has definitely developed over the past few years.

“He can get better by 30 per-cent. I still feel he plays on 70 per-cent. 

“He can do much more. He can be fast if he wants.

“He does [have a weakness]. I don’t want to say what it is. I don’t think anyone has made it aware yet.”

Babel is keen to see Liverpool win the league, having been a member of the squad that came close in 2008-09.

But he also wants to prove a point when he meets his former club in south west London this weekend.

Babel added: “I do have a weakness for Liverpool and I do want them to be champions.

“[But] I left Liverpool through the back door. It’s a prestige thing to prove people wrong. 

“I was loved in Liverpool, I had a good relationship with the fans and my team-mates but I felt I could do better. 

“At the same time I was 21, 22, 23 – not every player has maturity and I needed the guidance I had at Ajax. What can you do if you’re not playing?”

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