It’s the desire to play top class European football that drives the best and upon officially completing his £75mil move from Southampton to Liverpool, new Reds defender Virgil van Dijk can’t wait to run out for the club when their Champions League campaign resumes with a two legged tie with FC Porto in February.
“Yes, a lot,” said the Netherlands international when asked if he was looking forward to the bright lights of European football. “Obviously I have played in the Champions League with Celtic and that was very special as well. Liverpool is up there as well with the atmosphere and the fans. I am just looking forward to everything!,” enthused van Dijk. “Everything is perfect; the stadium, the training ground, the facilities and the people who work at the club, the people and the city, the fans. It is just the perfect place for me to be, and for my family to be as well.”
Having topped Reds boss Jurgen Klopp’s summer wish list, the 26-year old looked set to move to Anfield back in July before the move fell apart in spectacular fashion. Fast forward six months and the big defender made it through his first Liverpool training session yesterday as he eyes his debut for the club.
Rolling in to the tail end of the always hectic run of festive fixtures, the Reds will line up against city rivals Everton in the third round of the FA Cup at Anfield on Friday and though he’s been tipped to start against the Toffees, the man in charge isn’t about to rush him in to action.
“I don’t know [when Van Dijk will make his debut],” conceded Klopp, giving a non-answer to the question that’s on the lips of every Liverpool supporter. “We made a few tests that make sense only for him and for us, to see where he stands. That’s all. There is no rush,” continued the German manager, going on to hint that it’ll likely come after Friday’s match. “After the Everton game we have a little bit more time, that will help, but it’s a long-term project – so it’s not important when he makes his first game, it’s important how many good games he will play for Liverpool,” stressed the gaffer. “That’s what I’m interested in.”