By 90Min
April 12, 2018

Brendan Rodgers has backed his former club Liverpool in their quest to lift the Champions League trophy in Kiev this season, where he tipped former Celtic defender Virgil van Dijk as the man to make the difference. 

Although specifically impressed by Van Dijk's performance, the Celtic manager was full of praise for Jurgen Klopp's chargers as they sensationally dumped Manchester City out of Europe after emphatically putting five past the Premier League champions-elect in the quarter final stage.

Rodgers firmly believes that the Reds' 5-1 aggregate win and return to the final four of the competition for this first time in 10-years will not be the last highlight in a spectacular season for the Merseysiders. 

Speaking on Alan Brazil's talkSPORT breakfast show, via the Daily Record, Rodgers highlighted the importance of signing the £75m-rated Van Dijk in January, who previously spent two seasons with Celtic, as the turning point in Liverpool's fortunes.

"I think so. I think when you look at them and look at Virgil van Dijk, he makes a big difference at the back and has given them that authority and calmness. He's a fantastic player," he said.

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"The team works so hard for the three front players who have speed, power and work rate,and ability to score.

"At home it's always going to be difficult for any opponent at Anfield and away from home they are set up on the counter-attack," he added. 

Although at fault for City's early opener in the second leg on Tuesday, Van Dijk has proven to be the dominating figure Liverpool fans were crying out for in the back-line, with his presence and leadership causing a rise in the level of performances from his teammates, most notably his defensive partner Dejan Lovren. 

Whilst Liverpool, who are currently unbeaten in the Champions League this season, await their fate in the semi-final draw on Friday, Rodgers' Celtic are still in the hunt for a double domestic treble as the Northern Irishman continues to stamp his dominance across Scottish football. 

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