Virgil van Dijk was suspended for the goalless first leg of Liverpool’s round of 16 meeting with Bayern, but he is ready to help his team get through to the next round ahead of Wednesday’s second leg clash.
The world’s most expensive defender who once played as a striker says although there is pressure playing for Liverpool he would not give it up for anything “I like to play with pressure.”
The defender believes in himself, being calm and vocal on the pitch, In 2011, 19-years-old Virgil Van Dijk then at Groningen, played as a makeshift striker with his club in desperate need of a goal, And he delivered with not one but two goals. The same goal tally he has now with Liverpool this season.
Virgil acknowledges that Bayern Munich has a great squad of quality players, but believes being aware can help him stop red-hot Robert Lewandowski “You need to be aware of the qualities of every striker you face, as I always am, but sometimes you need to be smart and more than 100% ready for anything.
If he’s trying to run at you, trying to get past you, you need to be ready for that as well. You don’t need to give any opportunities to those strikers because they will punish you and they will score.”
On joining Liverpool VVD said it has brought him joy and he is glad about the progress he has made with the team, “Liverpool is such a massive club when the deal got done, I was just very happy for me and my family.
I was proud of myself and I was proud of the people close to me who helped me along the way. It’s been over a year now and we’ve come a long way. I’ve been progressing as a player and as a person. There’s still a lot to come, I think.”
VVD is not scared of the pressure that comes with defending “I’d rather play with pressure than without. I’m very proud to play for all these fans, for the manager, with these fantastic players and to wear the shirt every game. To play with pressure is always a good thing. I like to play with pressure.”
Virgil van Dijk has once again been awarded the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) Premier League Player of the Month for February.
He is looking forward to the challenge that lies ahead and believes the experience he got from watching Liverpool lose in the Champions League final though terrible will help him “I will take it with me and it’s a good experience. Hopefully, if being in the final happens again I’ll be on the right [winning] side.”