Sunday 26 May 2019

Van Dijk will need to amp it up

CALM: Virgil van Dijk. Pic: Getty
CALM: Virgil van Dijk. Pic: Getty

Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk has admitted he may have to adapt his laid-back style to suit the level of the occasion ahead of the Champions League final against Real Madrid.

The world's most expensive defender has brought a calmness and composure to the Reds' back four since arriving for £75million from Southampton in January.

Van Dijk has previously stated he does not suffer from nerves but accepted that approach almost cost him in their quarter-final second leg against Manchester City when they conceded a goal inside two minutes.

He has learned from that and hopes not to make the same mistake against Real Madrid in the Champions League final in Kiev.

"To be calm, that is sometimes a very good thing to have, but personally sometimes I have to learn, too," he said. "Against Manchester City in the away game I was a little bit too calm in the beginning for example. That is something I have to learn as well.

"The most important thing is we as players have to enjoy every bit of this. When the whistle goes that is a different story, but when we arrive in Kiev, when we see all the Liverpool fans, when we go on the pitch for the warm up, we have to enjoy it and make yourself ready.

"Other players maybe need to be tense, for myself I like to look around, embrace it and then when we are in the tunnel - full focus."

Van Dijk's influence on the side since arriving at the turn of the year has been noticeable, a commanding figure who takes charge of organisation.

His role will be key in keeping Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema quiet. "We are there, 90 minutes from the trophy and now we need to give everything we have," said Van Dijk.

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