Virgil Van Dijk Explains How Liverpool Will Deal With Lionel Messi

Virgil van Dijk

Centre-back Virgil van Dijk has been part of a Liverpool defence that has conceded only 20 goals in the Premier League this season

Virgil Van Dijk beat Raheem Sterling to claim the Professional Footballers Association (PFA) Player of the Year award.

Breda-born Van Dijk, 27, joined Liverpool in January 2018 from Southampton for €84.5 million and has become a rock at the heart of his club's defence, as well as scoring five goals this season.

PFA Player of the Year: winners by club since 1992-93 (PA Graphic) Van Dijk was chosen from a shortlist made up of team-mate Sadio Mane, the Manchester City trio of Sterling, Sergio Aguero and Bernardo Silva and Chelsea's Eden Hazard.

He snapped up Premier League Player of the Month prizes for November and December.

Manchester City now lead the way, courtesy of a slender one-point advantage over their rivals, but the red half of Mersesyside is hopeful Klopp's men can produce a dramatic finale to seal a first top-flight title in 29 years.

"If you are losing 6-1, as a defender, you can't say you had a good game but the good thing for me personally was I took a lot of experience from that night and that helped me, obviously". The big centre back will be hoping to crown a phenomenal personal season by lifting a trophy with his teammates at the end of the season, with the Reds still in contention for the Premier League title, as well as the UEFA Champions League.

Liverpool has kept a Premier League-high 20 clean sheets this season, a key reason why the team is only a point behind Manchester City with two games to go. We take a look at some of the Opta numbers behind Van Dijk's individual honour.

"I think he is the best player in the world, I have said that before", Van Dijk continued. "It was last season when Kevin De Bruyne and Mo Salah both played unbelievable seasons and Mo won it".

"He gives confidence. I think it's just credit to all who are part of Liverpool, also the fans that have been supporting us from day one and will always be there. I love playing for Liverpool, I am proud to wear the shirt".

Bayern Munich and FC Porto have been dispatched in ultimately-comprehensive style so far in the knockout stages and, while acknowledging the scale of the challenge posed by Lionel Messi and co, Van Dijk believes Liverpool belong in such company.

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