Liverpool have a chance to achieve something special this season, and with it the players have a chance to be remembered, to have their names mentioned alongside some of the club’s past greats. To maybe even become legends.
For many in the game, it’s that sort of achievement that drives them. The honours, the trophies, and with it the legacy. It’s what Virgil van Dijk says drives him; that from the first day he joined the club he had one thing in mind.
“As a legend of Liverpool,” he said when asked how he wants to be remembered. “I want to achieve amazing things here. We have a fantastic squad, we have everything. They went all out to get me and I want to give everything for them.”
So far he has. So far, he’s well on his way. And if Liverpool do win something this season, many will think of Van Dijk not just as the club’s dominating defensive presence but as the player who pushed them over the top.
Even while Philippe Coutinho was angling for a move away, Van Dijk was determined to join. Despite interest from Manchester City and Chelsea, he was determined to join. He believed in the club and in Jürgen Klopp’s project.
And then he arrived. And scored against Everton. And helped to turn Liverpool’s defence from liability to league best. And was key in a Champions League final run last year and now a Premier League title challenge.
“Before I started training [with the club], I went to the game against Leicester [in December 2017],” he added. “I was in the boardroom and met so many legends, great players who played for a beautiful club.
“When you play for this club, you’ll always be welcome as you’ve been part of the family. It’s one of the reasons I definitely wanted to play for the club.”