How to Find the Best Replacement for VVD Using Data Science

A data driven approach to identify the best replacement for the injured Liverpool Center Back Virgil Van Dijk

Abhijith Chandradas
8 min readNov 14, 2020



In this article, we scout for the best alternative for the injured Reds defender Virgil Van Dijk.
The steps involved in the process is as follows:
Data Collection:
All relevant player stats are collected from
KPI Generation:
Key Performance indicators are created for evaluation of players
Data Wrangling:
Data cleansing and feature engineering are performed
Finding the Players most Similar to VVD:
Players with KPIs similar to VVD can be found using proximity measures
Commenting on the findings of the excercise


Virgil van Dijk is arguably the most important player for the Reds. Since his arrival at Anfield in January 2018, for the record transfer fee, he has been an integral part of the team, leading from the back.

Eric The Fish from UK, CC BY 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Before his arrival, the Reds had been struggling with weak, leaky defense. The Reds were also going through a silverware drought, since the Miracle of Istanbul in 2005.

During his two full seasons with the Reds, he has led the team to the top of the world winning the UEFA Champions League and the Premier League. He reached Ballon d’Or podium in 2019. He is the only defender to achieve this feat since Fabio Cannavaro won in 2006. He was also the man of the match in the Champions League final. He is an integral part and the captain of the Dutch national team.

VVD has picked up a nasty injury, after a reckless challenge by the Toffees’ Goal keeper Pickford. He is expected to miss the rest of the current season. This has put the Reds in a very precarious situation having to reinforce their defense by signing a world class defender to fill the void left by VVD. In this article we will analyze player statistics to identify the best replacement for the Dutchman.



Abhijith Chandradas

Data Analyst | Hacker | Financial Analyst | Freelancer | IIM MBA | Opensource | Democratize Knowledge |