Someone’s about to get their first taste of one of the biggest rivalries in football when Liverpool head to Manchester on Saturday. Virgil van Dijk has been hearing all about the atmosphere and what it means for the supporters to come out on top against Manchester United.
“It’s massive,” said Van Dijk. “The reactions I’ve had already from fans, it’s such a big game.
“I feel that already and I have for the last few weeks. We want to win the game just like the fans. We want to do everything that’s possible to win it. I know how important it is for our fans.
“I’ve played in the Old Firm derby and that was very special. Now I’m definitely looking forward to this game and seeing how the atmosphere is.
“I feel like we can beat anyone. It’s going to be a very tough game and they have so much quality but we do as well.
“I’ve been hearing so many stories about how big this game is. I can’t wait for it to start.
A win against United is always great. Beating them at Old Trafford gives it that something extra. Watching José Mourinho in sad, losing mode is priceless. And this time out getting the three points would even launch Liverpool over United in the table, putting the Reds in second place with eight games to go.
“If you look at the table, you’ll see the number two spot is very important for both of us,” Van Dijk said.
“There are two points difference between us in the table so it’s massive. They won the other night against Crystal Palace and were a bit lucky with that.
“This game will definitely boost one team or the other. It’s going to be a big, big step ahead of the last games of the season.”
Virgil Van Dijk is a big game player so I don’t think anybody is worried about the Dutchman’s prowess as a defender against top players. His arrival has had such a knock-on effect that he has even settled Dejan Lovren beside him and ushered in the rise of Loris Karius.
Defensively, Liverpool have looked more confident recently than they have in ages. And the attacking band of three are always dangerous. Add to that the ascendancy of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain through the middle and you’ve got to say it’s United who will be the most anxious of the two teams on Saturday.
Virgil isn’t the first Liverpool player lately to claim that the team believe they can beat anyone. It’s a sweet sound. That winning mentality, preached by Jürgen Klopp, it has spread through the squad and taken hold. The only obstacle remaining now, I guess, is David de Gea.