While Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has a well-earned reputation as a witty, affable, all-around nice dude, supporters of his teams have also borne witness to his menacing side on occasion.
The towering German possesses an array of intimidating stares and grimaces that he is known to deploy even while observing the opposing during pre-match warmups.
Virgil Van Dijk, then a rising star at Southampton, was on the receiving end on one of those unnerving looks as his side prepared to face Liverpool in a 2018 fixture.
“I remember when I played my last game for Southampton at Anfield,” Van Dijk recounted to Gary Neville on the Overlap.
“When we lost 3-0, he was looking, and it definitely triggered me a little bit.”
The look can’t have been all that off-putting as the Dutchman went on to complete his transformative signing for the Reds a few months after that match.
“The reason I chose Liverpool is because I wanted to play for a club that lives and breathes football, and also the project,” he explained.
“When I spoke to Jurgen Klopp, what he wanted from me at the time and in the future only made me even more hungry to come here.
“He saw that I was obviously a piece to the puzzle, as were the others that we got in the summer, for example Alisson and Fabinho.
“The importance he put on me was definitely a big boost. It was a bit like ‘We want to get you, or we don’t get anyone’, that was a big message for me.”
The 31-year-old also recalled trying to recruit now-teammate Andy Robertson while both were plying their trade in Scottish football:
“I played against him when I was at Celtic, playing against [Robertson] Dundee United,” Van Dijk explained.
“Funnily enough, I was saying to our scouts that we should try and get him at Celtic. But in the end, he went to Hull and things happen, but playing with him has been incredible.”
Game recognizing game between two of Liverpool’s back four. Klopp and the Dutchman locking eyes from across the pitch. There is a whiff of destiny to Van Dijk’s career at Liverpool, and we at TLO are most certainly here for it.