Jan 11, 2017 at 7.45pm UK at ​St Mary's Stadium
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Liverpool
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Claude Puel lavishes praise on Virgil van Dijk

Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk in action during his side's Premier League clash with Hull City at the KCOM Stadium on November 6, 2016
© SilverHub
Southampton boss Claude Puel pays tribute to "winner" Virgil van Dijk, who continues to be linked with a move away from the club.

Southampton boss Claude Puel has paid tribute to Virgil van Dijk after the centre-back produced another impressive performance in Wednesday night's League Cup semi-final first leg against Liverpool.

Van Dijk, 25, joined Southampton from Celtic in the summer of 2015 and it is understood that his value has rocketed to £50m amid reported interest from Chelsea and Manchester City.

The Netherlands international again starred for his team in Wednesday's 1-0 success over Liverpool and Puel has claimed that the defender will continue to improve.

"He's a strong man, a strong player. He's physical, he's a technical player and we are lucky to have a player with his quality and his spirit also, because he is a winner," Puel told reporters.

"He gives always the example for the team, for the young players. I think this season he finds consistency and every game is a good performance and this is very interesting for him and us. I think he has improved a lot this season."

Van Dijk has scored four times in 27 appearances for Southampton this season.

Claude Puel watches on during the Premier League game between Stoke City and Southampton on December 14, 2016
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Chelsea25193352183460
2Manchester CityMan City25164551292252
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs25148346182850
4Arsenal25155554282650
5Liverpool25147454302449
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd25139338211748
7Everton25118640271341
8West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom2510783431337
9Stoke CityStoke258893036-632
10West Ham UnitedWest Ham2595113443-932
11Southampton2586112831-330
12Burnley2593132736-930
13Watford2586112942-1330
14Bournemouth2575133549-1426
15Swansea CitySwansea2573153154-2324
16Middlesbrough25410111927-822
17Leicester CityLeicester2556142443-1921
18Hull City2555152249-2720
19Crystal Palace2554163246-1419
20Sunderland2554162446-2219