Lionel Messi news: Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk reveals plans to stop the Barcelona star
What's the story?
Lionel Messi is having yet another standout season for Barcelona, with the Argentine scoring a sensational brace against Manchester United on Tuesday night to propel the Blaugrana into the UEFA Champions League semi-finals, where they are set to face Premier League leaders Liverpool, led by the standout defender of this season, Virgil van Dijk. And it seems the Dutch centre-back has already devised a plan to stop Messi.
In case you didn't know...
Messi is having another otherworldly season, even by his standard, leading the goalscoring charts in both the Champions League and La Liga. 'La Pulga' has scored an incredible 45 goals already this season and chipped in with 15 assists as Barcelona look on course for a treble. He is way ahead in the European Golden Boot standings with 33 league goals. Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappe is second in the list with 27 goals to his name in Ligue 1.
On the other hand, Van Dijk has been a revelation this season, emerging as one of the best centre-backs in world football. He has been the bedrock of Liverpool's Premier League title challenge this season and is one of the favorites to win the Premier League Player of the Year award.
The heart of the matter
Asked how the Reds will keep out a marauding Messi, Van Dijk commented that defending together as a unit will be the key.
"‘I don’t know, we’ll see. It’s going to be a great match-up for all of us. Obviously we’re very happy to be in the semi-final again and that’s the only thing I can say. It’s about doing it all together, it’s never 1 vs 1, it’s never just me against a particular striker"
He also remarked that he considers Messi the best player in the world and that it would be a monumental task to try and stop the magical Argentine.
"It’s always us against everyone and I think that’s the only way we can defend well. ‘And it’s going to be very hard and I think he’s the best player in the world but we’ll see"
Liverpool, who booked their place in the semi-finals of the Champions League by beating Porto 6-1 on aggregate, will face Barcelona later in the month for the first leg before welcoming them to Anfield in early May.