Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has acknowledged that he has been left delighted with the partnership between Virgil van Dijk and Dejan Lovren.
Before Christmas, there were lingering doubts over the consistency of Liverpool's backline, but the big-money signing of Van Dijk from Southampton has led to a top-four finish in the Premier League and a place in the Champions League final.
However, while praising the impact of Van Dijk, Klopp has suggested that his squad also deserve credit for helping the Dutchman settle into the team.
At a press conference, the 50-year-old told reporters: "We should have bought them together! I was not in doubt about [Lovren]. They obviously have a good relationship.
"Yes, Virgil helped us 100%, but the team helped him as well. He has had difficult moments in different games, but he is in a good way to become a real man.
"He's really important for us - really calm and top quality. I can imagine it is good to play next to him."
Van Dijk has made 21 starts for the Merseyside giants since the start of 2018.