In an exclusive with talkSPORT’s Laura Woods, the Reds’ Dutch colossus, Virgil van Dijk, waxed lyrical about everything from his personality, to Jürgen Klopp, to Saturday’s showdown in Madrid.
Tottenham Hotspur will be waiting for us out there as we contest successive Champions League finals; but, Van Dijk said he and his teammates are already doing their homework.
“We will be preparing on the system they’re going to play – because that’s the most important thing they’re going to adapt on.
“The only thing I will do, when I know the team, is consider their strengths,” he revealed.
Even if Spurs are without Harry Kane: “They have plenty of players who can make a difference. If it’s Heung-min Son, Lucas Moura, or Fernando Llorente in a different kind of way, we need to be ready anyway.”
Big Virg 🙌
Brilliant passing stats from @VirgilvDijk in this season’s #UCL. 👌 pic.twitter.com/hc2WuVdJ8u
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) May 30, 2019
By turns, the Dutchman switched his focus from his relationship with Klopp to answer a question on whether last year’s defeat has only made the Reds stronger.
“We’ve made big steps as a team, we’ve bonded together,” he replied confidently.
“Throughout the whole season, we’ve been playing very consistently. We’ve been using the whole squad.
“I think we’re better than last year because we’ve all made steps and grown as players. Hopefully the experience will help us.
“But it’s one game, 90 minutes, and anything can happen.”
Next to Dejan Lovren in defence that night and with Loris Karius behind in him goal, the Reds backline is already a different beast ahead of Saturday night: Alisson won’t suffer the same fate.
The remarkable performances of Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson this season are also a huge boon for Klopp. Although both were on the pitch in Kiev, this time round they’re on fire.
As if Van Dijk’s imperious performances weren’t enough, the 27-year-old claimed: “There’s still more to come. There’s always things to improve, you can’t be satisfied with what you have.”
It’s that kind of winning mentality that has thrilled Klopp so much this campaign.
We’re not satisfied with just being in finals now – we have to win them, starting on Saturday night!