We have to talk about one of the most exciting series in European football. But mostly about that epic battle between Lionel Messi and Virgil van Dijk.
We’ve all been hyping up both Lionel Messi and Virgil van Dijk throughout the season and practically everybody is geeking out about their confrontation.
The unstoppable GOAT is about to meet Liverpool’s immovable object in two of the most exciting matches that we didn’t know we needed until this week.
We have to analyze these two footballing titans separately and try to tell you who has the better chance of winning the series.
Liverpool may be the only club in European football that has a chance of defeating this historic FC Barcelona squad in the Champions League.
We have several individual confrontations that will make us all thoroughly enjoy this amazing tournament throughout 180 minutes.
Gerard Pique will have to deal with Mohamed Salah for one, Naby Keita will try to neutralize Arthur Melo in midfield.
We could go on all day with the many pairings we can create out of this very exciting semifinal but we’ll focus on what’s really important.
The duel between Lionel Messi and Virgil van Dijk promises to be one of the most unforgettable of these magical Champions League nights.
The Argentine might be on the verge of meeting his defensive match.
📊 | Virgil van Dijk in the Premier League this season:
🔴 – 34 Appearances
⛔ – 18 Clean Sheets
⚽ – 3 Goals
🎩 – 2 Assists
⚠️ – 1 Yellow Card
🛑 – 0 Red Cards
❎ – 0 Times dribbled past
🎯 – 89.7% Successful passes
🤯 – 102 Headed clearances
©️ – 8 starts as Captain – 8 Wins pic.twitter.com/3a6koMJm5z
— LFC Transfer Room (@LFCTransferRoom) April 15, 2019
Van Dijk’s chances of neutralizing Messi
Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk definitely has a certain edge about him that sets him apart from other defenders this season.
Only Gerard Pique is considered at the same level that the Liverpool player has been performing for Liverpool in all competitions.
WhoScored breaks down this powerful centre-back’s numbers and we can honestly say he is one of the best players in Liverpool’s recent history.
Virgil has played a total of 9 Champions League matches with 5 clean sheets so far with the Reds, he only missed one Round of 16 game vs Bayern Munich.
The Premier League is where it gets really interesting, the Dutch defender has kept a total of 18 clean sheets in 34 played matches in the competition.
This is the main reason why Van Dijk is currently the frontrunner to win the Player of the Year Awards in English football by the end of the season.
These numbers are worthy of a legendary defender whom Messi can finally see as a worthy adversary.
Apart from the tremendous offensive power that Jurgen Klopp’s side has this season, Van Dijk is one of the biggest reasons the Reds are still alive in the two biggest competitions they are currently playing.
Now we understand what a massive difference Virgil van Dijk would’ve made against Real Madrid during last season’s final.
Lionel Messi in all competitions this season…
👕 42 matches
⚽️ 45 goals
Relentless 😮 pic.twitter.com/szYCmaHktP
— Goal (@goal) April 17, 2019
Messi gets a unique challenge in Van Dijk
We’ve gotten used to watching Lionel Messi completely destroy any defender you play against him in many competitions throughout his career.
Granted, he’s always struggled to play for Argentina but there has been no player at club level who can catch him when he is at his best.
Leo is currently going through a second youth that is getting people to compare him to his vintage form from his best seasons.
The Argentine has already scored a total of 45 goals and provided 18 assists in all competitions for FC Barcelona according to WhoScored.
Virgil van Dijk is virtually going to play against the most prolific player of the season and one of the best in football history.
The Liverpool player already stated that he has no idea how to stop Messi but he will get as prepared as he possibly can for both matches.
As we already established in recent articles, Lionel Messi’s only Premier League Top Six victim are the Reds.
The Barcelona captain only played one Champions League series before against them and he couldn’t score a single goal.
Messi still wasn’t the legend that he is today when he met that Rafael Benitez squad but things might be very different when he meets them again.
The first leg will take place at Camp Nou on the final days of April and the return leg will happen in May at Anfield Road.
Dates confirmed for the Barcelona vs. Liverpool Champions League semi-final:
🏟️ Nou Camp –
📅 Weds 1st May, 8pm.
🏟️ Anfield –
📅 Tues 7th May, 8pm.
Messi vs. Van Dijk, bring it on. pic.twitter.com/FeE87aUEI0
— Coral (@Coral) April 18, 2019
Who will win this duel between Lionel Messi and Virgil van Dijk? Please share your opinion in the comment section down below.