To the Liverpool fans who were in hospitality at the Champions League Final last year… THANK YOU.
Your efforts in persuading Virgil van Dijk that Liverpool was the club for him, worked – unequivocally.
In fact, our brilliant no.4 claims that you were a bigger influence on his decision to join than Jurgen Klopp!
The Dutchman was speaking about why and when he decided it was ‘Liverpool or nothing,’ with our rivals, such as Manchester City and Chelsea, openly interested in him last year.
Liverpool tried to secure van Dijk last summer, but after well-publicised complications had to wait until January.
And it was well worth it, with the 26-year-old nothing short of sensational since his arrival.
Van Dijk takes up the story from here:
“I never really go to big games to watch as a fan, but I was in Cardiff,” Van Dijk told the Telegraph… “The sponsors hooked us up with two fantastic seats and it was two hours from where I used to live, so we thought, ‘let’s go’.
“From the moment I got there, a lot of people in hospitality were Liverpool fans and they were saying, ‘join, please join’. It was funny to see how big the support and fan-base of Liverpool is.
“That [influence] is a big word, but it does something to you. There was a lot of attention on myself. There had been a lot of talk about different clubs at that time.
“It could have been different fans coming up to me and saying, ‘come to us’, but 90 per cent of the supporters were Liverpool. That says a lot and the people who were with me were like, ‘woah, there are so many Liverpool fans, it is all over the world’. It was incredible.”
Van Dijk also discussed his meetings with Klopp, but remarkably, claims the German didn’t need to sell him the club at all.
“He didn’t need to sell me anything.He did not talk about occasions like this. Knowing Liverpool as a club, the people I had spoken to about Liverpool also, I knew Liverpool belongs to the Champions League. It is a Champions League club with Champions League fans, with a Champions League culture in the way we want to achieve things.
“That is all part of Liverpool. You hope to be in the final, like everyone else that starts this campaign, but to actually be in it is fantastic and hopefully it can be even better.”
Unless something bizarre happens, van Dijk will be marshalling Liverpool’s backline well into his thirties.
He cost £75m, but the fact nobody is talking about the fee proves how well he’s taken to the task of leading our defence.
May he put in the performance of a lifetime this evening, to keep Cristiano Ronaldo and co. quiet.