The ex-Man Utd boss dismissed calls for van Dijk to be included in his squad during his time at Celtic, as he “didn’t defend forward”.
By this he means van Dijk wasn’t a proactive defender and often waited for things to happen before reacting.
Van Gaal instead opted to select Bruno Martins Indi and Terence Kongolo, both of whom have since been relegated from the Premier League with Stoke and Huddersfield respectively.
As reported in the Athletic , van Gaal’s scouts also warned their boss that van Dijk had several other weaknesses.
His tendency to lose concentration when marking a forward was an issue, while he could often come across as complacent.
Since then van Dijk has become a key figure in the Dutch dressing room, as well as one of Europe’s most accomplished defenders.
The 28-year-old is among the contenders for the 2019 Ballon D’Or award following his stellar year for club and country.
Van Dijk helped Liverpool amass 97 points in the Premier League last season, narrowly missing out on the title, and also won the Champions League.
He was also part of the Holland squad which reached the UEFA Nations League final, and qualified for Euro 2020.
His performances have already earned him FIFA’s Best Defender of the Year award, ahead of Monday’s Ballon D’Or ceremony.
Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard has tipped van Dijk to win the award , over the likes of Lionel Messi and Reds teammate Sadio Mane.
When asked if van Dijk should triumph, Gerrard told Goal : “Yes, 100 per cent.
“I’m Messi’s number one fan, for sure. I love the player. Obscene numbers in his game in terms of assists and goals. I’m definitely a Messi fan, in the gang.
“But if you talk about consistency from one player over a year, who wins the European Cup and is absolutely faultless in every performance, that means you deserve to win the Ballon d’Or.”