Joleon Lescott reckons Ruben Dias is having the same impact at Manchester City as Virgil Van Dijk had at Liverpool.
Dias has been a revelation since joining City in a £67m deal from Benfica last summer.
The Portugal international has helped Pep Guardiola's men go on an unbeaten run of 20 games in all competitions to charge to the top of the Premier League table.
In that time City have conceded just four goals, with Guardiola describing Dias as "undroppable".
Jurgen Klopp's men went on to win their first title in 30 years last season, just 18 months after signing Van Dijk from Southampton in a £75m deal.
City, who travel to Anfield on Sunday, are now favourites to dethrone the Reds as champions this season and if this happens, former Etihad star Lescott reckons Dias will have had a huge role to play.
Lescott said: "He's had a massive impact. The biggest thing for me is his reliability and consistency. He's solid at all aspects – heading, tackling – but his availability is the biggest thing.
"He's played 50 games in the past two seasons with Benfica – and already played 27 for City. That's a huge thing having someone who is always fit and available.
"The stats between Ruben and Van Dijk when comparing their first 27 games are considerably better for Ruben.
"I don't want to take anything away from Dias, but he came into a team that had success. Liverpool hadn't. Liverpool were hopeful of being contenders.
"The gap they had to reduce was difficult – and that's not playing down what Dias has done because he deserves a lot of credit, but it's hard to say one impact is bigger than the other.
"If we hadn't signed Dias and won the league this season, that wouldn't be a surprise. Whereas Liverpool weren't taken seriously without Van Dijk.
"Dias is the figure City were looking for. He knows what it means to win stuff, knows the standards, and has a winning mentality. He's been there before. He's bringing that experience."
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