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“He is chilling”- Liverpool star Virgil van Dijk assesses Lionel Messi threat ahead of World Cup QF

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Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk claims the Netherlands have to be on their absolute best to stop Lionel Messi

Liverpool ace and Netherlands captain Virgil van Dijk, while speaking in an interview (h/t Liverpool Echo) ahead of his national team’s important quarter-final match against Argentina believes that the contest will not be just against Lionel Messi but the entire Argentina squad.

Netherlands face Argentina in an exciting quarter-final set up, Van Dijk while reserving the praise for one of the biggest icons of the game claims the defensive set-up will have to be spot on if they were to stop the opposition’s lethal counter-attacks.

“It is not me against him, or the Netherlands against him, but the Netherlands against Argentina. No one can do it on his own, we will have to come up with a good plan.

The difficult thing about him is when we are attacking, he is chilling somewhere in a corner or something.

You have to be so very sharp in terms of defensive organisation. They always looked for him to try to make it difficult for us on the counter.”

Messi presented a dejected figure at Anfield
Lionel Messi and Virgil van Dijk will be facing each other once again

The defender got the better of the Argentine ace the last time the two players met at the 2019 UEFA Champions League semi-final, a game which is enshrined in every supporter’s memory for the fabulous comeback made by us to turn a three-goal deficit.

Van Dijk would definitely be looking to add on the above stat and would be shouldering a huge responsibility in keeping Messi at bay for the game, which would be extremely crucial for the Oranje to progress further in the tournament.

The Netherlands were without the Liverpool defender at the European Championship 2020 and his absence was hugely felt by the team. Over the years, Van Dijk has developed himself into a leader that can be relied upon and someone who sets an example for other players around him to follow.

Virgil Van Dijk of Netherlands in action during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Round of 16 match.
Virgil Van Dijk will be looking to lead his nation to the semi-finals of FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Not only the national team but Van Dijk’s transfer from Southampton was a major catalyst that Jurgen Klopp needed to take the team to the next level and is a key component of the dominance shown by us over the past few years.

The Netherlands were not made to sweat much in their Round of 16 encounters against USMNT but the game against Argentina would prove to be a much tougher task.

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Hopefully, Van Dijk would be able to lead his team in the best manner and get the Oranje back amongst the discussions and reach the semi-finals, four years after the team failed to qualify for the tournament.