With Liverpool preparing to face Real Madrid in the Champions League final, Reds defender Virgil van Dijk has revealed what led to his switch to Anfield.
Having attended last season’s Champions League decider in Cardiff, the approach was not a formal one.
Rather, Liverpool fans who were present in the Principality Stadium that day did the ground work.
“I never really go to big games to watch as a fan but I was in Cardiff,” the Netherlands international explained.
“The sponsors hooked us up with two fantastic seats.
“From the moment I got there, a lot of people in hospitality were Liverpool fans and they were saying ‘join, please join.’ It was funny to see how big the support and fanbase of Liverpool is. It does something to you.”
In pre-match news conferences, manager Jurgen Klopp referred to Liverpool’s DNA and history as factors that make the club unique.
And this idea was something that had resonated with Van Dijk before he even met the German.
“He [Klopp] didn’t need to sell me anything,” Van Dijk said.
“He did not talk to me about occasions like this. Knowing Liverpool as a club, the people I had spoken to about Liverpool also, I knew Liverpool belongs to the Champions League.
“It is a Champions League club with Champions League fans, with a Champions League culture in the way we want to achieve things.
“This is all part of Liverpool. You hope to be in the final, like everyone else that starts this campaign, but to actually be in it is fantastic and hopefully it can be even better.”
There was much controversy surrounding Van Dijk’s protracted move from Southampton to Liverpool.
And while playing on the big stage like Kiev’s NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium could justify his painful departure from the Saints, the defender talked down the potential significance of his contribution.
“Any player who arrives at this club, they want to play in these games, they want to be under this kind of pressure, they want to get trophies,” he said.
“I don’t think I have been brought to win the Champions League final. I have been brought to hopefully get the best out of myself and the team, with the help of everyone else.”