The Reds produced a superb performance against the Catalan giants at Anfield, with the Dutch defender claiming this is just the start
Virgil van Dijk believes Liverpool are becoming a team that is feared across the world after their latest Champions League miracle.
Jurgen Klopp’s side can add Barcelona to their list of scalps after the most remarkable of semi-final contests at Anfield. Trailing 3-0 from the first leg at Camp Nou, the Reds produced a stirring fight back to fire themselves into next month’s final.
Divock Origi and Georginio Wijnaldum each scored twice amid a frenzied atmosphere. Not even Lionel Messi, not even Luis Suarez could save Barca, who went down 4-0. For the second season running, the Catalans were eliminated after surrendering a three-goal advantage.
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As for Liverpool, they head to Madrid, where Tottenham will await. Beaten finalists last season, they will be favourites to lift their sixth European crown on June 1.
For Van Dijk, it is simply confirmation of the progress being made by Klopp’s team. And he believes Tuesday’s result will send shockwaves across the footballing world.
“Hopefully,” he said when asked if Liverpool were getting their ‘fear factor’ back. “That’s something we work towards.
“I feel that [Manchester] City already have that bit of status, because they have been dominating last year so much and hopefully we can keep going and make it very difficult for any team in the world.
“If you see how we play, not many teams make it that difficult for Barcelona. How we pressed them, how we created chances against them, put them in difficult situations. You have to be brave. You have take a lot of risk defensively and we did it.
“It’s just fantastic for all the boys and everyone involved with Liverpool.”
Still, there will be little time for reflection at Anfield. Not with the Premier League title up for grabs. Victory for Liverpool against Wolves on Sunday could make them champions, if City fail to beat Brighton at the Amex Stadium.
Unlikely, yes, but strange things seem to happen where the Reds are concerned.
“There’s still a game to go and Brighton away is not easy,” said Van Dijk. “But Wolves at home is certainly not easy either. We need to focus on ourselves. We need to try to get three points.
“If we do that then we did what we could do. We’ll see what’s going to happen in Brighton. I’m definitely a proud man anyway. We’ve been working very hard this season. It’s just the start.
“We have a great age group. Between 20 and 27, 28. So hopefully we can do it all together for the next couple of years at least and grow as a team and hopefully get a lot of successes.
“If it happens it happens. We have no influence on that. They [City] have it in their hands. We’ll see. If it doesn’t happen then it’s not the end of the world. We’ve had a fantastic season, both of us.
“Man City have been outstanding as well. To compete with them says a lot about how we’re progressing from last year.
“It’s just the start. It’s not like next year we’re not going to try to do it again. It’s something we have to build on. There’s still a game to play for them and us on Sunday and we’ll see.
“The only thing we can do is try to win both: the Wolves game and the final. Deserve is not the right word. We have been outstanding this season and if something happens everyone can be very proud and happy.”