Virgil van Dijk is adamant that there is “no fear” at the prospect of facing 12-time winners of the Champions League Real Madrid.
Even the most bitter of opposition fans will know that Liverpool have been incredible in Europe this season, scoring 40 goals in the tournament proper.
Three of the four top goalscorers in the Champions League play for the Reds, with Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah on 10 and Sadio Mané with 9. Only Cristiano Ronaldo (15) has scored more goals in the tournament this season.
While the Reds have been fantastic going forward, they have also been strong at the back and this is in no small part due to the form of Virgil van Dijk since he signed in January from Southampton for £75 million.
“The Champions League nights I’ve played so far have been very special – even the away game against Roma was incredible, with their support and our support, which was fantastic as well,” van Dijk told Liverpoolfc.com.
“To secure the Champions League final spot there was nice, it was crazy. I’ve spoken with a lot of big, big legends of the club already and I like hearing stories of them back in the day. It’s great to be part of something special now.
“There is definitely a chance [to write our own history]. It is going to be a hard task, but we just need to believe in ourselves. We know we have the quality, we know we have the game plan to make it difficult for any opponent.
“We have to respect them in a certain way, but we’re not going to fear them. We want to win the game and we’re going to do everything that is possible. It’s going to be a very big game.”
Despite that Real Madrid have won three out of the last four Champions League finals, van Dijk insists that Liverpool should travel to Kiev without fear.
The Dutchman said: “They’ve won three of the last four. They have experience, they have so much quality.
“We need to look at them, but the main thing is to look at ourselves. I’ve said it before, we’re not here for no reason – we deserve to be here.
“We need to show that as well on the pitch: be brave, do our thing, do what we normally do. It’s a one-off game, but we need to just be confident and show what we’re good at.
“Only the Roma away game we’ve lost in the Champions League, so that says a lot. The way we play, if everyone is 100 per cent and the tactics are spot-on, then we can make it difficult for any team.
“They are experienced in these kind of games, they have played these type of games in the last few years. For us, it’s a little bit new, but that doesn’t matter really. We just need to play our game and be ready for anything that’s possible. I think we will be.”
Van Dijk has only been at Liverpool for five months but the hulking centre half admits it’s easy to forget how little time he has spent at the club because of how welcome he has been made to feel.
The former Southampton skipper said: “Sometimes I forget I’ve only been here for five months. I think that’s credit to everyone around me – the staff, the players obviously, the people at the club who help me every day. It also helps a lot that my family is settled here, too.
“We have a great, great bunch of guys in the team and I think the team spirit is very good, which is very important for players to settle in. It only can grow.
“I’ve not really been surprised [by our supporters]. I’ve seen so many examples, games or pictures or anything, and our fans are everywhere. Even when I wasn’t a Liverpool player, when I travelled around the world and I would see so many Liverpool shirts and fans. Now I really know how big the fanbase is of Liverpool. I am very proud to play for them and give my all for them.
“I see the videos of them on social media – I can’t miss it really! It makes you proud. It makes you motivated to give even more than you already are trying to do. You play for the team, you play for the club and you play for the fans as well. It’s amazing to have such support behind you.”