Van Dijk had 'instant feeling' about Liverpool as he targets more success with Reds

By Sports Desk May 11, 2020

Virgil van Dijk has revealed there was an "instant feeling" with Liverpool that led to him joining the club, with the move allowing him to make "big progress" in his career.

The Netherlands centre-back eventually arrived at Anfield from Southampton for a reported £75million in January 2018, the Reds having initially attempted to sign the player prior to the start of that season.

Van Dijk has blossomed since the switch, helping Liverpool reach back-to-back Champions League finals while they had moved to the brink of a first title in the Premier League era prior to the domestic season being suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Having also finished second to Lionel Messi for the Ballon d'Or last year, the 28-year-old is delighted with the way things have worked out since choosing to head to Merseyside.

"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," Van Dijk said in an interview with Jamie Redknapp for Sky Sports.

"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."

Van Dijk was a key member of the Liverpool team that conquered in Europe last season, Jurgen Klopp's side securing the Champions League trophy.

The former Celtic defender described the final in Madrid, where they defeated Premier League rivals Tottenham, as "surreal" – and he hopes to experience it again during his career.

"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," Van Dijk said.

"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."

Related items

  • Coronavirus: Lyon president writes letter to government calling for season to resume Coronavirus: Lyon president writes letter to government calling for season to resume

    Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has written to the French prime minister and sports minister calling for the "hasty decision" to cancel the Ligue 1 season to be reversed.

    The campaign was brought to a premature end last month after prime minister Edouard Philippe announced that no sporting events would be permitted until September due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    Lyon missed out of a Europa League place when the Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) confirmed the final standings had been calculated on a points-per-game basis.

    Aulas has refused to accept the decision to wrap up the campaign, though, saying play-offs could be arranged in August while questioning the integrity of the LFP executive committee and warning of an "economic disaster" in the French game.

    With the Bundesliga season back up and running, while Spanish, Italian and English clubs prepare for a potential return, Aulas wants an about-turn in France.

    Lyon on Monday published an open letter from their president sent to the government eight days before they are expected to announce the easing lockdown of restrictions in the country.

    It was sent "so that June 2 [when measures could be eased in France] becomes synonymous with hope for all of French football."

    After reiterating why he felt more time should have been taken before deciding whether the campaign could be ended, Aulas stated that he believes the action can get going again in July.

    He concluded: "Can we also conceive as well that June 2 is a great opportunity to rectify the error concerning French football and allow, with the health protocols being used everywhere, to set a starting point for a gradual resumption of training [in June].

    "And, why not, a resumption of the 2019-2020 league seasons in the months of July or August as UEFA specifically suggested on April 21 and as has since been confirmed by Aleksander Ceferin [UEFA president] on May 14?"

  • Kaka and Luis Fabiano lead tributes after former coach Vadao dies Kaka and Luis Fabiano lead tributes after former coach Vadao dies

    Kaka and Luis Fabiano have paid tribute to one of their former coaches, Oswaldo 'Vadao' Alvarez, who has died at the age of 63.

    Vadao most recently coached Brazil's women's team, taking charge at last year's Women's World Cup during a second spell in charge of the national side.

    He left the role following the tournament, with his side having gone out to hosts France in the last 16.

    A former midfielder, Vadao spent much of his coaching career in Brazil's domestic leagues, most notably enjoying spells at Corinthians and Sao Paulo.

    Kaka and Luis Fabiano both featured under Vadao at Sao Paulo in 2001-02, and the pair led the tributes to their former mentor on social media.

    "My eternal gratitude for you opening the doors to a boy that nobody knew and few believed [in]," wrote Kaka in an Instagram post.

    "But you believed, taught me, gave me opportunities for me to fly. Today the day is very sad, but the memories I keep in my heart are of great joy! Rest in peace my friend."

    On his official Instagram account, Luis Fabiano added: "Rest in peace Vadao.

    "You were very important in my career. My feelings to the whole family."

  • Premier League title gives Leicester 'stardom', says former boss O'Neill Premier League title gives Leicester 'stardom', says former boss O'Neill

    Martin O'Neill has praised Leicester City's progress under Brendan Rodgers and feels the club's famous Premier League title win is still helping them.

    Leicester are on course to reach the Champions League, with the Foxes sitting third in the Premier League table prior to the coronavirus halting top-flight action.

    A remarkable season has seen them equal the Premier League's record for the biggest ever win with the 9-0 triumph at Southampton, as they sit above the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United, Tottenham and Arsenal in the standings.

    The impressive campaign in Rodgers' first full season since joining from Celtic comes after Leicester finished ninth last season, with O'Neill - who managed them between 1995 and 2000, winning two EFL Cups - impressed by what he has seen.

    He thinks Leicester's unbelievable 2016 league success catapulted the club to a new level of stardom, helping to set foundations that make the current team more likely to remain a leading force.

    "Do I think that Leicester can make the Champions League? Oh, very much so," O'Neill said to Stats Perform News.

    "They are in a terrific position. They have played very, very well, they have played a nice brand of football as well. So, good credit to the manager, Brendan, he's done very well there.

    "Their season when they won the league was absolutely and utterly incredible. I suppose it takes the shine away from our particular years there, finishing in the top 10 for about four consecutive seasons and winning a couple of EFL Cups.

    "But overall, Leicester City are a very fine footballing team. They are competing.

    "They are competing financially in the market as well. They are pretty astute, they got a lot of money from Manchester United for the centre-back [Harry Maguire] and then used it accordingly.

    "Of course, winning the league a couple of seasons ago has escalated into some sort of stardom anyway, if not super-stardom.

    "They are a team to be reckoned with, no question about that."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.