That’s according to transfer expert Duncan Castles, who thinks City would be streets ahead had they got Van Dijk instead of Aymeric Laporte.
Both Liverpool and City were in for the Dutch centre-back but the Reds won the race after stumping up the £75million fee to get him.
“If Manchester City had not balked at the asking price Southampton put up for Van Dijk, and not balked at the wages Van Dijk was asking for and had signed him, I don’t think there’s any chance that Liverpool would be top of the league at present,” he told the Transfer Window podcast.
“For example, I don’t think this would have happened if Liverpool had taken Laporte because they hadn’t got Van Dijk.
“There’s no way Laporte would have been able to produce what Van Dijk has done for Liverpool by slotting into that defence.
“By the same token, if you put Van Dijk into the City defence, I think he’s far more capable of handling the difficulties that they are having with Fernandinho being out than Laporte and John Stones are.
“Remember, they are both still very young centre-backs, both chosen more for their creative abilities, more for their passing on the ball than they are as pure defenders.”
Liverpool are six points clear at the top going into their huge Premier League clash of the titans at the Etihad on Thursday.