Virgil van Dijk has delivered a timely reminder in the direction of Manchester City of how difficult it will be to stop Mohamed Salah.
The Premier League’s top scorer threatens as a familiar menace to the likely champions ahead of Wednesday night’s Champions League quarter final first leg at Anfield.
Salah was on the scoresheet in January’s 4-3 win over Pep Guardiola’s side and will be required to pose as a similar torment if the Reds hope to progress.
Discussing whether Salah can trouble City for a second time, Van Dijk told Sky Sports: “That’s what everyone knows. That’s how we feel as well.”
“He’s that kind of player that you just need to be on your best. When he is 100 per cent and in the zone then he can beat anyone.””There are ways to stop him but I’m not going to tell you because I don’t want our opponents to think about it.”
Alongside Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane, Salah helped disorientate and dissect a City defence that had gone relatively untroubled until January’s memorable meeting on Merseyside.
City’s current lack of a recognised senior left-back could see January signing Aymeric Laporte tasked with marking Salah purely on the basis of his roots as a natural centre-back.
The dynamism of Guardiola’s attack outweighs ever-present uncertainty surrounding Liverpool’s defence capabilities as reason for Klopp to demand his team give just as much back in the final third.
It’s for the tendency on both sides to sacrifice leaving gaps in order break forward in numbers that teases a Champions League thriller.
With that in mind, City must pass the test Van Dijk has set out in regards to stopping Salah.
Something tells us it could prove to be a stressful but thoroughly entertaining 180 minutes of football.