Former Celtic defender desperate to write himself into Liverpool folkore with Champions League triumph

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Former Celtic defender Virgil Van Dijk admits he is desperate to earn a place in Liverpool folklore by helping the team win the Champions League.

The Netherlands internationalist has played a central role in helping Jurgen Klopp’s side set up a mouth-watering final against Real Madrid in Kiev on Saturday after joining the Reds in a £75 million move from Southampton in January.

Van Dijk was part of the Hoops team that finished bottom of Group H in the first of his two seasons north of the border as Celtic endured a disappointing campaign in the competition four years ago.

(Pic: Brian Hargadon)

But now Van Dijk admits he is relishing the chance to guide Liverpool to a sixth European crown.

He said: “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.

“It’s a fantastic game and it almost doesn’t get any bigger than this game. We’re looking forward to it, we need to enjoy it and we need to be ready.

“It’s a game that not a lot of players play in during their careers. To be playing in the Champions League final with Liverpool is something special and I can’t wait for it.”

Van Dijk, who left Celtic for Southampton in a £13 million move in summer 2015, insists he is not overawed by the task of keeping Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo and Madrid’s Galaticos at bay.

Speaking to liverpoolfc.com, he added: “They’ve won three of the last four (Champions League finals). 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.”

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