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Name Virgil van Dijk
Gender Male
Ethnic Dutch
Job Dutch Footballer
Desc xxxx


Org Dutch National Team
Club as Player Liverpool FC
  Celtic FC
2013 06
Van Dijk moved to Celtic FC for £2.6m from Groningen on a four-year deal

2015 08 26 Retrieve

[Virgil van Dijk considers future after Celtic’s Champions League defeat to Malmo] Celtic is an amazing club and I’m very thankful for everything. But if the right opportunity comes then I’ll consider it. It’s a terrible way [to go] if it ends like this but I have a lot of great memories at the club

[Quizzed about the link with Southampton] I think you need to ask the board. I don’t know what will happen in the coming days. I’ve not been talking to anyone. Now that qualification is over we will wait and see. I’m not looking for anything. It’s a great place to be and they gave me an opportunity to show myself, so I’m very thankful for that

[The Dutchman apologised to fans after a tame loss to Malmo, with Celtic having led 2-0 just 10 minutes into the first leg] We knew there was pressure before the game and we told each other to be calm, take your moments and just play our game because we are better than them but we didn’t show it. They got the belief after the first goal, which was a foul in my opinion. After that, we had trouble keeping the ball and simple things went wrong. I’m a winner. I want to win every game I play. But we were poor and there is no excuse

2015 09 01 Retrieve

[Virgil van Dijk leaves Celtic for Southampton] I would like to thank all the Celtic fans for the magnificent support they have given me during my time at the club. Celtic is a brilliant football club; it will always be in my heart and I will always be a Celtic supporter myself

I know Celtic did not want me to leave and wanted to extend my contract. The club did everything to keep me and I appreciate that but I felt the time was right for a new challenge in the English Premier League. I thank everyone at the club, the manager and all the staff and I wish Celtic and the fans the very best for the future

2017 01 31
Virgil van Dijk had a fracture of the malleolus [an injury to the soft part of the ankle] that led to him missing the remainder of the season

2017 08 08 Retrieve

[Virgil van Dijk says he has handed in a transfer request to leave Southampton] I am incredibly ambitious and want to achieve as much as I possibly can to fulfil my potential in what is a very short career as a professional footballer. I want to play European football again and challenge for major honors and as such I would like Southampton to consider the interest in me from top clubs should it still exist

I have been left frustrated by the club’s position that I am not for sale and am disappointed that enquiries from multiple top clubs have been consistently rebuffed

Over the past six months I have held numerous discussions with representatives of the board, the former manager Claude Puel as well as the new manager Mauricio Pellegrino to inform them all of my desire to leave the club in search of a new challenge. I have consistently relayed my feelings to senior management at Southampton in what I believed to be private and personal conversations. Disappointingly, these conversations have regularly found their way into the media

2017 10 06 Retrieve

[Virgil van Dijk claims his interview with Dutch media were twisted by the English media] I have no regrets. Of course, I wanted to go one step up, but eventually Southampton did not want to let me go, but you’re a professional, so now I’ll give everything to the club. Halfway through the season, maybe we can see what’s possible

[In light of the negative backlash he has received, van Dijk told Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf that those words were taken out of context] I once felt at Celtic that my words were completely twisted. It’s annoying if something is misinterpreted, because people get a wrong picture of you. I came across as a spoilt brat who was only busy looking at options to make a transfer in winter, but I’m not. It was not my words and I would never say that. My focus is entirely on Southampton, I work hard on training and competitions and have respect for the club after what happened last summer

2018 08 13 Retrieve

[When asked how Alisson had settled in on Merseyside] Very good. We speak a lot. He’s very vocal and that helps. It helps me and everyone in the back line. I think his presence is very good as well. He has a lot of qualities on the ball that helps get us playing. We’ve worked on it the whole pre-season and we’ll keep practising. There’s still a lot to do.

The most important thing is that we look at ourselves. We know that right now we have a great squad. We have a lot of quality players. Everyone who plays for Liverpool has a lot of quality. It’s all about being consistent. We want to challenge for any competition. But we must look at ourselves

Of course we want to challenge. I do not feel any pressure in that case but we play every game to win, that’s how our mind-set is. Against West Ham our focus was good and now we recover before focusing on Crystal Palace, which is going to be a very tough game. It’s just one game. We had a good pre-season with good results and games where we’ve played very well. It was a very good performance, almost complete. Good goals, maybe we should have scored a bit more. Clean sheet, we kept it tight. Something to build on. But we can do a lot better and it’s just the start. I think the key is we need to be very consistent and do it every game

2018 11 24 Retrieve

[Virgil van Dijk explaining why he embraced referee Ovidiu Hategan after the Netherlands 2-2 draw with Germany] He broke down, stood with tears in his eyes because he had just lost his mother. I wished him strength and said he had refereed well. It’s a small thing, but I hope it helped him

2018 12 12 Retrieve

[Virgil van Dijk Defends Tackle on Dries Mertens After Carlo Ancelotti Comments] I don’t think it was a bad challenge at all. Unfortunately I touched him, but I would never go in to hurt him or anything like that. I had the ball and obviously the wet pitch you slide through and I touched him, but that’s football

2019 08 17 Retrieve

[Virgil van Dijk speaking ahead of the UEFA Super Cup about the appointment of Stephanie Frappart, the first female referee to officiate a major men’s European match] I think gender is irrelevant. If the quality is there, and obviously it is there, because otherwise she wouldn’t get appointed for this game, then it doesn’t really matter. If you look at her CV as well, she had been doing so many good games and, you know, they made probably the right decision. And what I said before, gender doesn’t matter at all

2019 11 16 Retrieve

[Joe Gomez was involved in a bust-up with Raheem Sterling at Three Lions training on Monday and received the negative reaction from supporters after coming on as a substitute during the 7-0 win over Montenegro at Wembley on Thursday night] It’s disappointing to see [the Gomez booing]. I want to say as well it’s been dealt with. I think everyone should stop talking about it because it’s just a thing that happened. They all sorted it out. Everyone needs to move on, leave Joe especially alone. But yes, it was disappointing to see

[With Liverpool creating an eight-point lead at the top of the Premier League table ahead of Leicester City and Chelsea following the win over City, Van Dijk was asked about whether the Reds would end their 30-year wait for a league title] I’m not gonna say that [it feels like Liverpool’s year]. It’s something for the media. For players the main thing is we focus on the game ahead of us

For me personally it’s Northern Ireland, it’s a tough task. What happens with Liverpool in the future we’ll see, we have no influence on it, the season is so long. My focus is on the next game, at the moment that’s [with our] national teams

2019 12 03 Retrieve

[Virgil van Dijk talks about his season] It was an amazing year, but there’s a couple of players like that who are a bit unnatural. So you need to respect greatness as well. I was close, but there was just someone a little bit better. I’m very proud of what I achieved last year with Liverpool and Holland, and hopefully we can do that again this year. But that will be tough with those guys around here still

2019 12 05 Retrieve

[Virgil Van Dijk not worried over Liverpool’s lack of clean sheets] It doesn’t really matter but no one wants to concede goals even if you win the game. But I am not going to go to bed thinking ‘Oh s**t’ we conceded a goal. It is all about the team winning games. We want to win in the best way possible and obviously that is by not conceding but if we win it with conceding then everyone is still happy

We are in a good situation we can’t deny that but we are not there yet. We never are satisfied, especially when the season is not even halfway. We want to keep going and focus on the games ahead of us. So from now we will recover from this and be happy and fully prepare for Bournemouth at the weekend

The thing is we have to find a way to win every game we play whether it is with different players or different tactics we are always trying to find a way. The players who came into the team don’t play regularly at all. Look at Divock Origi, Xherdan Shaqiri, they did fantastic, we played Adam Lallan), Milly [James Milner], everyone is contributing and we need everyone

That is the key message and it is good. The season is very long, this month is very long – January as well – so the manager makes the decisions at the end of the day but we need everyone to be ready. We have a big squad and everyone is part of what is going on at the moment. Everyone is happy with the situation we are in. And everyone is also feeling responsible as well, ready to play or if you are on the bench. Everyone is part of the success we have and that is the message to everyone and so far, so good

2019 12 12 Retrieve

[Virgil van Dijk says Jordan Henderson is Liverpool’s leader and never underappreciated at Anfield] Jordan is such an important player for this team. The contribution he makes goes unnoticed sometimes. I don’t know if he’s underappreciated outside the club, but inside the club I know how highly we all think of him. He’s our captain and he always leads by example

He created the second goal with a great pass and always works so hard for the team. We all appreciate what he does for Liverpool, both on and off the pitch. He’s a leader

[The Reds raised their game when required against Salzburg] I think so too. It was what we expected - very intense, up and down, we had opportunities and they had moments of danger that we had to deal with. When the game settled, we started to take control and we should have made life easier for ourselves by taking our chances before the goals came in the second half. We showed a lot of maturity with that performance

2019 12 14 Retrieve

[Virgil van Dijk has told The Athletic of Jordan Henderson, his skipper] Jordan is such an important player for this team. The contribution he makes goes unnoticed sometimes. I don’t know if he’s underappreciated outside the club, but inside the club I know how highly we all think of him. He’s our captain and he always leads by example

2019 12 22 Retrieve

[Virgil van Dijk has admitted that he was disappointed to finish second to Lionel Messi in the Ballon d’Or voting] I was slightly disappointed. I decided I would still go to the ceremony – and, in the end, it was a super night. I still consider it a great achievement to be up there with the ­biggest football icons in the world

I spoke to Messi during the ­evening. It was not the longest ­conversation because he doesn’t speak a lot of English. But it was still enough to make me realise that the respect between us now also runs the other way

[Van Dijk credited the close-knit feeling at Liverpool for the success he’s had] This Liverpool bunch is ­phenomenally close together. In my opinion, Liverpool are one big ­family – and that is why this club suits me so much. James Milner says the same thing – and he has played at big clubs like Man City, Newcastle United and Aston Villa. That’s why this club is great for me. The people are all ­humble. The legends of the great days – such as Kenny ­Dalglish and Ian Rush – travel with us during ­European weeks. Dalglish even sends me texts on my phone and we will have a chat at times. When I go to see my family after a match, I go by the boardroom and it is always full of former top players

2019 12 23 Retrieve

[Virgil van Dijk says Jordan Henderson is a fantastic captain for Liverpool] He’s our captain. That’s what we all respect. He’s having a fantastic season so far. He’s been doing fantastically whether he’s filling in for Fabinho at the moment or he’s playing as a right midfielder where he’s giving assists and stuff. He has been fantastic, in and out of the pitch he is very important for us whether he plays or not. We all respect him on that level. I think from him that is also the most important thing. When other people say negative things it doesn’t really matter. He was outstanding when he played centre half. I was really proud of him. I told him after the game. He has got a lot more respect for what we do in the back as well. It’s not easy and I know sometimes we make it look a bit easy but it’s difficult. They played very direct as well in that game, long balls, tall striker. It was not easy for him but he dealt with it so well

We are the first Liverpool team that have won it so we can be very proud of that and hopefully more to come. To be out there, to start a tournament you want to finish as the winner and that’s what we did. We are very happy about that. Obviously it’s something special. We got what we came here for. We gave everything that we had. We had Flamengo fans next to our hotel and they were partying the whole time as well. We had already a feeling. I know how big Flamengo is as a club. We knew Brazil was living for them to win this. So I enjoyed the atmosphere, I enjoyed the passion they had. They made it tough for us.

2019 12 27 Retrieve

[Van Dijk revels in Liverpool’s brilliant Boxing Day win over Leicester] Yeah, it was not a bad Boxing Day!. Yes, it might be one of the best performances so far, because it was from start to finish. I think they never had a shot on target? We dominated the game, we dominated possession, we dominated with chances. It was a complete performance

[Van Dijk, though, was keen not to go overboard in his praise for the 21-year-old] Well first of all Trent Alexander-Arnold needs to help us get clean sheets, and today he did that!. And secondly, to be that important with his contribution to the goals, that’s a big bonus for us. They left the whole right side open for us. James Maddison was playing inside so we had to find [Trent], we had to switch the ball quick, get him in open spaces, and we did that well. And obviously he did well too!

[Asked if he was surprised at Leicester’s narrow setup] No, no, they had a game plan. And I think they did the same at Anfield and it worked pretty well for them. They might have thought they’ll do the same, try to isolate me with [Harvey] Barnes and Joe [Gomez] with [Jamie] Vardy. But it didn’t work out too well for them. Obviously we had to exploit the spaces that they give us, and I think we did that very well

[Any suggestion of fatigue or complacency, though, was swiftly dismissed] Most of the players are used to playing every three days so it is no problem. We travelled back on Sunday morning, and I don’t think any of us were up late after the game anyway. We had treatment on the plane, then we had three full days to prepare for Leicester. Everyone was ready. You don’t need to be extra motivated for this one, we knew how big it was and, yeah, we played well!

Yeah, you guys have to talk about it! You guys can do the talking, we’ll focus on the games ahead of us. We can’t say too much, we will give the same answers every time and try to win the game ahead of us. We’re feeling good and hopefully we can continue. Now is an opportunity to recover and be ready for Wolves. It will be tough again and hopefully we will be at our best. But it’s all about winning games.

2019 12 29 Retrieve

[Van Dijk says he would need to see a replay of his alleged handball which came before he launched the ball upfield for Lallana to flick on to Mane] I need to see it back. I can’t remember it. I heard from you guys about handball. I thought it was complaints about the handball for Adam Lallana. The game is over. What can we do? The goal stood. Wolves are a fantastic side who play good football and you have to give them credit because it was going to be difficult. Today was going to be the same. We want to keep continuing what we are doing and we will see where we are at the end of the road. We feel we can improve but cannot complain about where we are. 2019 was promising and hopefully we can keep it going and enjoy the ride

2019 12 30 Retrieve

[For context, their last 19 games have brought 55 points; the 19 before that brought 46, and the 19 before that brought 51] We are positive about the situation we are in but we cannot be satisfied – we want more and more

2019 12 31 Retrieve

[Virgil van Dijk admits Liverpool took important lessons from the title pain they endured in 2018-19] We are halfway through now and we hope to finish the season on a high so for that, we have to focus on the game ahead of us. The whole experience from last year, doing well in the league, only losing one time, winning the Champions League, the whole experience has been helping us so far in our journey this season. We came very close, unfortunately, City were just a little bit better but that spurred us on to try even harder this year and so we have been winning games, grinding games out and playing good football at times. We enjoy the hard work too so that is very good. Hopefully, we can just keep going doing that and just be hungry for that as well. We should be learning from what happened last year and I feel that is definitely what has been going on

2020 01 10 Retrieve

[Remember that? Loris Karius’ howlers and Gareth Bale’s magic, Mo Salah’s injury and Sergio Ramos’ grin. Dua Lipa and Salt Bae, Cristiano Ronaldo’s final game for Real Madrid] It was massive. It was an experience for all of us that we didn’t want to experience again. What I felt before the final in Madrid was that I don’t want to walk through that guard of honour and get my silver medal. That feeling is the worst feeling you can have. I thought about it before the [Tottenham] game that we have to do it; we have to get the trophy no matter what

2020 01 11 Retrieve

[Van Dijk claims history-making Liverpool can get even better] We want to analyse the game and be much better, but three points is massive, especially here. We play Spurs who are a good side. They were in the Champions League final and that must still hurt for them and they will want to bounce back. Second half they pressed and made it difficult for us. The league lead gives us all a good feeling. But you see there is still room for improvement. We are in a good situation but there is work we can do to make it easier

2020 01 19 Retrieve

[When asked by Carragher whether the title race was over] No, I think everyone wants us to say something about it but we won’t get carried away. I think that what we experienced last year was something that made our mentality like this, we will go one game at a time, stay fit, try to improve, even after today which was a well-deserved, fantastic win, and be ready for the next game

2020 01 19b Retrieve

[Van Dijk denies any hard feelings with Harry Maguire over record transfer fee] No, good luck to him. There was always going to be a time when that was going to change, because that’s the market. He doesn’t have any influence on that. We players don’t have any effect on the price and it’s the same for him as it was for me. But the price does come with pressure. I thought it wouldn’t change too much for him because at Man United there’s always a lot of pressure anyway - there is at all the big clubs

[Maguire’s move to Old Trafford also raised a few eyebrows] What can you do? I’m not listening! It doesn’t really change anything in my head. I just like to perform the best way I can and sometimes it comes with mistakes, we can all make mistakes, but you try to be as good as you can and get the maximum out of yourself. You just have to do what you love to do and play your best game, get your qualities out on the pitch, help the team. Enjoy all that and don’t think about the other things

[how he deals with the pressure of expectations at Liverpool as they fight for silverware on multiple fronts] It’s not easy to completely shut off all the pressure but personally I like to put things in perspective. I know that a quite lot of things are more important than playing football. We’re all blessed that we can do what we love to do. To play for Liverpool, such a big club, and with all the support we get, is special. You need to enjoy it, even though the pressure will always be there

2020 01 20 Retrieve

[Van Dijk shrugs off Liverpool’s huge Premier League lead as defender demands full focus] How many guys have you been interviewing from us?! I think we all give the same answer. Everyone can have their opinion, have their say on the situation we are in now but we all know as a group, everyone that is involved in Melwood, we are not getting carried away. We can’t deny that we are in a good situation, but these things don’t mean anything at the moment – only at the end of the season. And hopefully it does mean something at the end of the season

[That’s 13 league wins in a row for the league leaders] Everyone is involved in that. We have a fantastic goalkeeper, the full-backs doing their job, our midfielders and the stars obviously up front, so it is a whole collective thing. But obviously as a defender we are very pleased to keep clean sheets, because we all know that if we keep a clean sheet there is a big chance to win the game, so it is a good feeling

Yeah but we all know why we are doing it. We all know why we work so hard for each other. That’s the good thing; we are always trying to find a way. It will never be easy but we know that, so you can adapt already to deal with certain situations. The mentality we have, we know there are going to be setbacks in games, we know there will be difficult moments in games, but if you are ready to face them it makes it a little bit easier

[Wolves should provide a test] They give everyone a big test. Massive respect for them, how they play and how they are doing it at the moment. Good team, fantastic manager. It is always going to be tough. They showed it against everyone already in the league. We have to be ready again for a very tough game

2020 01 25 Retrieve

[Virgil van Dijk insists Liverpool did not feel unbeatable despite their incredible run in the Premier League] You never feel unbeatable – it is not a feeling that we have. Anything can happen. There were moments against Wolves when things could have been different. They could have scored a second. We always feel we have to keep working hard. We just try to keep improving. Things are going good at the moment and everyone is in a good situation

Of course I talked with Joe and tried to help. That incident wasn’t his fault. I spoke to him about it at the time and he came through that. I’ve been so impressed by Joe. We all saw last season, before he got injured, how good he is and how good he can be. He’s someone I get on very well with - on and off the pitch. That helps, of course

2020 01 30 Retrieve

[Van Dijk says he doesn’t ‘need to study’ ex-Liverpool striker Ings ahead of Southampton clash] He has been a key man for them [Southampton] and helped turn it around. I’m very happy for him and very happy for the club. I hope they kick on, but Saturday we try to get a result. At this stage, you don’t need to study strikers any more. Normally you know their strengths and weaknesses. You try to prepare as good as possible but most of the time, it’s to make sure you’re 100 per cent ready. The strikers we are facing at the moment we have played against many times

[Reflecting on his decision to swap Southampton for Anfield two years ago] The decision I made has not been too bad! I’m 28 now and I want to fulfil every dream I ever had. Life can be short. Your career can be short as well. I want to enjoy every minute of it. I’m enjoying playing with this team and this manager. We can’t look too far ahead. But right now, I’m enjoying it. I don’t look at the table. You [only] need to look at the table at the end of the season

2020 02 18 Retrieve

[Liverpool captain Virgil van Dijk also shared his thoughts on the way Atletico Madrid had set up] We knew it would be a proper battle, especially here in their home ground with the fans behind them and it didn’t help we conceded a goal in the corner and with their first chance. It wasn’t even a chance, it was luck, but it still counts. That’s the way they play, and it is a bit of Spanish football as well. You have to adapt to that, but we knew that. We handled it pretty well. It’s not easy but it’s part of their game and we need to adapt as well. The message at half time was to keep playing and play side to side quickly and we knew there would be chances. We had the ball most of the game but couldn’t create massive opportunities, but we have another 90 minutes to set it straight and we should be full of confidence

2020 02 19 Retrieve

[Virgil van Dijk put Liverpool’s 1-0 Champions League loss to Atletico Madrid down to bad luck] We conceded the goal from the corner, first chance for them, not even a chance. Bit of luck. The message at half-time was to keep playing. We had the ball most of the game but unfortunately could not create massive opportunities. We still have another 90 minutes to set it right. It is the way they play. It is a bit of the Spanish football as well and you have to adapt but we knew it and I feel we handled it pretty well

2020 02 25 Retrieve

[Virgil van Dijk has described Liverpool team-mate Mohamed Salah as a fantastic player] I think he has shown over the seasons he has been here that he is a fantastic player and the numbers speak for themselves. We are very happy with him and that is the most important thing for him as well. He is a very important member of our squad, scoring-wise but also the defending, it is a big part of our game as well so we are just very happy and let’s keep it going

I think we should take advantage of the break we had. Everyone had their time off, we all enjoyed it and we are all ready for the second part of the season. If you are looking for negatives then so be it but we want to win games, we know it is going to be tough every game and obviously the goal they scored was their only opportunity, not even a real opportunity, but it is a goal they scored, give them a big boost and if it stays 1-0 or 2-0, there is nothing to be said. We will just keep going and stay positive and not get nervous. That is the main thing

2020 02 29 Retrieve

[Van Dijk reacts to Watford defeat that ends Liverpool’s 44-game run] I think first of all credit to Watford - the chances they created they stick to their plan they scored three goals we didn’t create too many opportunities and we can’t take the credit away from Watford. We need to improve, it’s a tough one to take. If you conceded three goals we have to improve as a team and we will. Losing hurts, the records are only for the media we didn’t mention it once, we keep going. We want to win the next game in the FA Cup and then in the league against Bournemouth - I mean, that’s the only way forward

The whole season we haven’t lost a game like this. They did very, very well and we should have done better - we want to strike back straight away. Two throw-ins, we have to look at it, there is no reason for panic. We don’t want to concede, we look at it but we don’t have to panic. The record and the talk of the records is all media, we just try to win every game ahead of us. We will focus on the next game, the cup game, and we try to win there. We have to stay humble and work harder next game

2020 03 04 Retrieve

[Van Dijk: It’s too negative to say Liverpool will ‘just’ win the Premier League] Just end up with the Premier League? Yeah? Just? It’s just a small thing is it? We also won the Super Cup and the World Cup of [club] teams. In life, there are people that are not always satisfied. They are always looking for negative things in life. That’s just the reality. Either you’re going to think about these things and go on with it and go on with that negative spirit, or you just focus on the good things, and I’m definitely focusing on the good things. We are in a very good situation. Close to what we all hope to achieve. Let’s just go for it, enjoy it. Tonight is a big blow but we were playing against a very good side. Let’s focus on ‘just’ the Premier League, because it’s very small, huh?

I think that’s stupid to say [Liverpool weren’t bothered about the cups], in my opinion. Every competition we participate in, we want to win. We showed it tonight with the line-up and the way we kept going, the energy we put in.

We tried to do as much as possible to win the game. My reaction is that I don’t like losing. The way we lost at the weekend was totally deserved. It was a very tough day for all of us. Today we made some changes but everyone who came in did brilliantly.

The first goal was a mistake that shouldn’t happen. But we had a massive four chances in one moment to equalise I think. And then it’s a different game. We wanted to keep winning every game that was ahead of us. But we deserved to lose at the weekend.

We all knew it. We all discussed it. We got over it easily, I think, because we spoke with each other and accepted we have to improve. Tonight was a much better performance but you lose so you’re out of the cup. That’s the reality

He’s been very good for us this season. Very important. And he is our captain. We appreciate everything he does for us. But we have quality players all over the pitch. Everyone who’s coming in, whether on the pitch or off it, has to contribute with being a leader. With being ready to come on, in training or when you’re on the bench to challenge the players who’s playing in your position. Obviously, we can’t deny that he’s been outstanding this year, that he’s been very important. But the reality is everyone else has to step up

2020 03 10 Retrieve

[Van Dijk calls on Liverpool’s ‘grown men’ to stand up against Atletico] The pressure is always there. The thing is when you don’t get good results - we don’t get too many - we have had three in the last five, but the outside world can talk like we are in a relegation battle. It is what it is. We have to deal with that. We have to be grown men about it, take it on the chin and show the world why we deserve to be where we are and why we deserve to still be in the Champions League. But we know it is going to be unbelievably difficult

We couldn’t give any chances away against Barcelona, either. Things can happen and they could be the better team but we all want to show why we want to go through with our qualities and deserve to be in the next round

It will be very difficult, with all due respect to Bournemouth, Atletico will be tough, they are a fantastic side. They are one of the best in how they play. They are aggressive, together and they have fantastic players who can hurt you on the break too, so we have to have a fantastic night, all of us. Hopefully we can go through. We have some time to prepare and we have to be ready for a very difficult challenge. I think so far we have been sticking to our principles and whoever is on the pitch involved will give more than 100 per cent. Everyone is looking forward to this game and we all want to go through to the next round. We know it is a difficult game and we will try everything we have to beat them. We know how difficult it will be

2020 03 13 Retrieve

[Van Dijk credits Oblak for ending Liverpool’s Champions League hopes] I think everything went right for 95 minutes, at least. We were outstanding, I think. We dominated the game and had the intensity that they had to deal with. But they had an outstanding goalkeeper and he kept them alive. He pulled off some great saves. He saved them, plenty of times. Maybe three or four big, big saves that I can remember off the top of my head. We tried everything, that was the main thing.

We played very well. I think no one can question that. You are obviously left with nothing at the end of the game, scored the first, second and in the end they scored at the end. That can happen when we are trying to go all out. We expected exactly the way they played tonight. I think everyone expected that if you look at them, it is their right to approach the game the way they did. I think we did everything we could to win the game. As I say, we were outstanding for 95 minutes. We were intense, we dominated, won the ball, won a lot of second balls and put in a lot of work and heart in the challenges. The only thing is we are out of the Champions League

2020 03 13b Retrieve

[There is no confirmation yet that Monday’s game will be played under such conditions, but Saturday’s Under-18s derby at Kirkby will take place without spectators, and Goal understands both Liverpool and Everton are preparing for the news that the senior version will be affected too] I think the main thing is football should be played with fans. We play also for the fans, the fans pay to come and support us. But it is not their decision, it is not our decision, the decision is going to be made by the government and the Premier League and until that decision is made we just have to wait and see. If the decision is made, accept it.

Everybody has to be ready for another intense game and we will be, everyone wants to play those kind of games, I want to play those kind of games. So let’s go out there and enjoy it and don’t forget why we are 25 points clear at the top. We have to focus on ourselves. We need to get a good result at Goodison Park. That is going to be very tough. They are not in the best moment either so we will try everything to get a good result but we know how difficult it will be

2020 03 16 Retrieve

[Van Dijk would be ‘gutted’ to see Liverpool land title behind closed doors] If we won it in an empty stadium and the fans weren’t there, I’d be gutted for them. Obviously if there are no fans at Anfield then it will be a bit of a blow – no one wants to play games without the fans. Until a decision is made on how we go on from here, then we just have to deal with it. But when it happens we are still bringing the title to our fans, definitely

2020 03 31 Retrieve

[Van Dijk names Messi as toughest opponent] There are some difficult strikers out there but probably Leo Messi

[Van Dijk revealed his favourite career moments, which featured a trio of expected answers] There are a few to mention. Making my debut as a professional footballer, making my debut for the national team, and of course Madrid

2020 04 02 Retrieve

[Van Dijk delivers message to Liverpool fans amid coronavirus crisis] First of all, stay safe. Stay home. Do the right things, wash your hands and do all the things the government is saying, which you have heard probably every second of the day – but do it because it helps everyone. It helps you but it helps everyone around you as well. The second thing is that we miss you guys as well, we miss being out there, we miss working hard every day and trying to get better and show our qualities to all of you. Just stay put, wait and see, that’s the only thing we can all do anyway. The most important thing is to stay safe and look after yourself, your family and the people that are close to you

We try to get into that kind of rhythm. The fitness department tried to set up some sessions that we can all do together through video call and I think that’s a good idea, to stick together again and see each other – see all of each other again. Apart from that you just do your running and try to do at least something every day. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday we do a harder session to give your body what it needs because it can go quickly if you don’t do anything for quite a while. You have to be smart and you have to do the right things to keep your body on a certain level that you can kick on when it starts again

2020 04 02b Retrieve

[Van Dijk reveals the only game he’s watched back during lockdown] I don’t watch too much football, to be fair. Especially from this season I didn’t watch any particular game back, if I’m honest. I don’t know why, it’s just how it is. I saw only one game back of me when I played one of my first games in Holland, that was on TV, when I played at right-back. I couldn’t believe what I was doing at that time! I watched that game back because I was 18 or 19 at the time and I didn’t watch that game back since that time. It was on TV and I watched it back. I miss watching football and obviously playing football but it’s a bit of a difficult one I think. I didn’t watch any of the Liverpool games this year, I have seen a couple on social media, some highlights – it’s nice to see and a good feeling to get. But, apart from that, not really

Obviously it has been very surreal, a bit crazy. You have never experienced things like this before, you see these kinds of things in TV shows or films, things that you never really come up against. The reality is it’s just a crazy time right now. The most important thing is everyone’s safety, that’s the main thing and the most important thing right now. Yeah (Van Dijk’s family are currently fit and healthy), as long as we’re together, that’s the most important thing. Staying home, staying together and being healthy – that’s the main thing and everyone is coping.

2020 04 06 Retrieve

[When asked how he would like to be remembered when the time comes to retire] As a Liverpool legend. I want to achieve incredible things here. We have a fantastic team, we don’t lack anything, we have all the tools necessary to on winning: a coach that we identify with, a versatile squad, a style of play that breeds victories, a stadium and supporters that play their part. Yes, I would like to be one of those players that return to Anfield after retiring. I see club legends at games and I feel part of a really big family

At 16, I was a right-back and I wasn’t good enough to play as a centre-back. I never stood out as a player until I got to the U19s and was named captain. Sometimes I played as a full-back, other times in the middle. From there, everything got much better. I played for the U23s and everything accelerated

2020 04 09 Retrieve

[Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk previously expressed his disappointment about potentially celebrating the Premier League without fans] If we won it in an empty stadium and the fans weren’t there, I’d be gutted for them. Obviously if there are no fans at Anfield then it will be a bit of a blow – no one wants to play games without the fans. Until a decision is made on how we go on from here, then we just have to deal with it, but when it happens we are still bringing the title to our fans, definitely

2020 04 11 Retrieve

[Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk talks about his career dreams with Sport] [I want to be remembered] as a Liverpool legend. I want to achieve incredible things here. We have a fantastic team, we don’t lack anything, we have all the tools necessary to go on winning: a coach that we identify with, a versatile squad, a style of play that breeds victories, a stadium and supporters that play their part. Yes, I would like to be one of those players that return to Anfield after retiring. I see club legends at games and I feel part of a really big family

2020 05 09 Retrieve

[Van Dijk billed as best defender in the world as AC Milan legend Baresi salutes Liverpool’s ‘leader’] Football has changed so much in the last 15 to 20 years, not just on the pitch but in how it’s seen, access to information and the role of social media and all that. I think the way in which defenders are seen has also changed over the years. Real football fans know how important defenders are and they appreciate them. If I had to name names, then the one who really stands out is Virgil van Dijk, who’s shown the quality, character and strength that a defender needs to have to be a successful leader of a team like Liverpool

I’ve played with and against so many great players that it’s hard for me to choose. But given everything I’ve learned about football in my life, I’m going to choose two players from every generation who have really made their mark on the history of the game. Pele and Eusebio – who I remember watching on TV when I was young – Johan Cruyff and Franz Beckenbauer, then Diego Maradona and Michel Platini, Ronaldo and Marco van Basten, and finally Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. That ought to do it!

2020 05 09 Retrieve

[Van Dijk sounds ominous warning to rivals as Liverpool star claims he can get even better] There is always room for improvement; I know it and I just try to keep looking for it and keep working on it. With the help of all my team-mates and obviously the manager, and also the manager of the national team – Ronald Koeman – that will definitely help me get better even now. So, I just keep doing that

To be absolutely honest, in the first six months that I joined we had more training sessions. It was intense, there were a lot of different things that were going to be asked of me. And I enjoyed it, I enjoyed it a lot – the hard work, the discussions that I had with certain players about the way Liverpool, the way we, play. The manager demands a lot from me and it all helped me become the player I am today. It’s a lot of tactical work, a lot of thinking. Obviously as a defender we try to keep a high line, try to put the opponent under pressure at all times. You leave a lot of space sometimes behind you so you had to deal with that as well. But it’s something I definitely enjoy and I knew before I joined the club this is something I had to work on in the beginning but it would definitely be something that I enjoy. And so far, so good

2020 05 09b Retrieve

[Coronavirus stoppage forces Van Dijk to reflect on future retirement] It’s difficult to not be out there, to show our talents, to work hard, just the small things in the game. Also playing for so many fans, winning, the whole build-up to games, training sessions, just seeing the boys. We spend so much time together and all of a sudden now you’re not together for like two months, almost. It’s different, it’s crazy, and it’s something that you really haven’t felt before, and it makes you appreciate things a little bit more. It’s going to be strange, and obviously I don’t want to think about retirement or anything like that, but it’s going to be strange. It makes you think how difficult it’s going to be for players to make the decision to retire, because what are you going to do after? There’s going to be a period of uncertainty where you have no idea what to do, and that feeling is what we have sometimes at the moment as well, because we have no idea what might happen

Obviously we try to keep in touch daily through our group chat. But obviously it’s strange, it’s a strange situation for all of us, for everyone in the world – in any profession that everyone is doing. We have to adapt, we have to do things differently. But the most important thing is definitely everyone’s health. I can only speak for my own private circle, if that’s alright then obviously that’s the most important thing. On the fitness part, I just try to stay as fit as possible, do all the sessions we’re planning to do with the team. And make sure I’m ready for when the league restarts. Then we’ll see what might happen

2020 05 11 Retrieve

[Van Dijk reveals he was nearly axed by his first academy] I played in the academy of Willem II for 10 years. There was a period at Willem II when I was around 16 that I was on the verge of not going through to the next year of the academy. I was not good enough at all, I was on the bench a lot. In the summer I had a growth spurt and after that everything went really well. I had an injury in my groin because I was growing so much, but after that I made big steps

It’s been a good road so far that I have taken to where I am today, everything happens for a reason. I have come from hard work and a lot of dedication and that is something I am very proud of. It’s something that should inspire a lot of young players that are out there that don’t have the attributes of those who have been playing at the highest level since they were 16. There is another way to winning the Champions League. I am very proud of my journey so far and it has not finished yet.

2020 05 11b Retrieve

[Van Dijk had ‘instant feeling’ about Liverpool and describes Reds transfer as ‘surreal’] It was surreal for me to have to make a decision where to go to at the time. The instant feeling was there with Liverpool and they ticked most of my boxes. When I went to Celtic I didn’t realise how big they were at the time, but I had a feeling before I joined Liverpool how big Liverpool really were. You see all their games, I’d played there two times before I joined them, and over the course of time before I signed, I met so many people, Liverpool fans, that would say, ‘I hope you sign for us’. It was special, and when things got finalised and you start playing, my debut against Everton was something I will never forget. How things went in the end; starting in the winter, reaching the Champions League final, the disappointment of losing it but then winning it the year after, coming very close to winning the Premier League and obviously now we are in a very fortunate position to hopefully get it over the line when things start moving again. We are making big progress as a team and I have definitely made big progress myself

Winning the Champions League was surreal. I slept only one hour after, then we went straight back to Liverpool after that and then we went on the parade. I couldn’t keep my eyes open; I was so tired, but it was an unbelievable night, something I will never forget. It was just incredible, from start to finish, it’s something we all want to experience again, whether it’s in the Premier League or next season in the Champions League. We will try and go again. Hopefully we can experience something similar in the future

2020 05 11c Retrieve

[Before making the move from St Marys to Anfield, Van Dijk was subject to signifcant transfer interest from City] Before I made the decision to choose Liverpool, I looked at all the aspects of the clubs; the way of playing, the team-mates, the future as well. The city, the fans everything has got to be a big part of joining a club. I think Liverpool at that time when I made the decision was the right decision and obviously to reach the Champions League final in my first six months was obviously a big bonus and helped me a lot in my development

2020 06 20 Retrieve

[Virgil van Dijk believes winning the Premier League could take some Liverpool players to the next level] We have not won the title yet. We have not won anything yet. But the aim is to start next season in the same fashion. We can be a team that can keep progressing. We have players who can progress and make big steps in their development. Winning the league would be a big experience that could take them to the next level. We can achieve that first and foremost this season and then we will see what can happen next season. If we win the title this season, we will try to retain it. That’s what we are aiming for but everyone knows how difficult it is to retain the title, especially in England and we are not there this season yet. We tried to retain our Champions League title and it wasn’t possible. It’s very difficult. We will try to focus on the nine games we have left but we hope to set the pace for the rest of next season with the title behind our name and defend the title as well

I know how long our fans have been waiting for this. But unfortunately it’s something we all have to deal with that they won’t be able to be there if it happens. We’ve seen clubs winning cups already in other countries and everybody is getting on with it. For me, winning the Premier League and lifting that trophy would be a dream come true. We were very close last year and we are very close this year, much closer than we were last year. We have nine games to go and we will try to win all of them. That’s our goal.

The most important thing in life is health and we all had to deal with the suspension of the season and everyone had the feeling there would be a time when we finished the season.

It was strange to stop so abruptly and being in the unknown. Not knowing when we will start again. Sometimes people were putting things in the media saying the league should be cancelled. You read these things because you have plenty of time to read when there is suddenly no football being played.

I wasn’t worried but being left in the dark, not knowing what was going to happen, personally I hate that. You ask questions to certain people who know what is happening behind the scenes and it was pretty clear there was no option at all to cancel the league. So you try to make sure you stay fit, do all the right things and make sure you are even more ready than before when the league resumes

2020 06 26 Retrieve

[Virgil van Dijk has declared that Liverpool took their season to another level after claiming a long-awaited Premier League title] It’s unbelievable, what a season. We’ve been incredible. To be part of this group of players and part of this journey is incredible and I am very proud to be able to call myself a Premier League winner. Of course, I watched the [Man City/Chelsea] game. I don’t watch too many games but the game felt like it was taking ages and never ended. When the free-kick went in from Kevin [De Bruyne] - what an incredible goal by the way - I was getting nervous, and I haven’t been nervous in a while. But after that it was just celebration time and we are all proud of each other. I can’t really describe the feeling to be honest. In the league this year we have taken it to another level. We have been so consistent and played so well

2020 06 29 Retrieve

[Jordan Henderson has captained Liverpool to the title] I don’t know if he is under-appreciated outside the club, but inside the club I know how highly we all think of him

2020 07 16 Retrieve

[Liverpool defender Van Dijk refused to accept Liverpool’s title triumph as an excuse for their defeat at Arsenal] We gave them goals as a present. We dominated and put pressure on them but gave them two goals and obviously then it’s difficult to come back. If you give goals away like we did today, including myself, you get what you deserve. The goals shouldn’t happen, but until then nothing was wrong. We pressed them and scored a fantastic goal. A moment of concentration [cost us] and that was unfortunately something we had to deal with twice. It’s so easy to blame us having won the title. I had a feeling we could win here comfortably, but if you give them goals you see what happens. I made a mistake, I take the blame for it, I take it as a man, and we move on.