Virgil van Dijk is "a dominant force" and Liverpool team-mate Joe Gomez relishes being able to play alongside him.

Gomez and Van Dijk have formed a solid partnership at the heart of the Premier League's best defence, with the former having overcome significant injury problems to establish himself in Jurgen Klopp's starting XI.

Van Dijk arrived at Anfield in January 2018 as the world's most expensive defender, a record that has since been surpassed by Harry Maguire's switch to Manchester United, and quickly struck up a close relationship with the England international.

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"I've said it before, but the stature of Virgil before he came to the club was massive," Gomez told Sky Sports .

"I was a young centre-back, hadn't really gotten as many games [at Liverpool] as I would have liked but as soon as he came in, he reached out with open arms and we formed a bond straight away.

"The fact that he is a down-to-earth person off the pitch, we get on really well and we have a great relationship.

"We talk and in times like this, we FaceTime and speak about general things so that helps on the pitch when you have an understanding. He's your mate at the end of the day.

"Sometimes he gives me an earful, but it's a massive help and a confidence booster just having someone like him beside you. When there's a one-on-one battle, you know he's going to dominate, he doesn't really lose headers at all.

"Just having him alongside you and his presence, it's not just me, it's the whole team and the stadium. When Virgil goes down, I think there is a bit of a gasp and a worry but he's a real dominant force and a pleasure to play alongside."

Gomez joined Liverpool from Charlton Athletic as an 18-year-old in 2015 and admits it took time for him to understand the size of the club and the expectations that would be upon him.

"Football was all I knew and looking back, it was daunting," said Gomez. "It's a massive club and to be honest, I don't think I realised the stature of the club and what I was getting in to in terms of the expectation.

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"But I think you have to take it head on and you have to accept that when you don't perform, you have to take it on the chin and there's going to be backlash – not in the negative sense, but just through expectation. Around the club, it has such a strong history and you have to uphold that.

"I think as soon as I went into pre-season, I realised the size of the club. I was used to staying in the UK and going for a training camp somewhere, but in my first Liverpool pre-season, we went to Thailand. We turned up to the hotel and it was ridiculous, security everywhere and hundreds of people. Straight away from there, I realised.

"We then flew to Australia and played against Brisbane Roar and the stadium was packed. That was the first time I heard 'You'll Never Walk Alone' and I thought, 'Yeah, this is a different scale.'"