Liverpool centre back Virgil Van Dijk has conceded he does not know how he can stop Barcelona's Lionel Messi when the two sides come face to face in their Champions League semi final next month.
Van Dijk is considered by many to be the best defender in the world, but even he appears unsure how to tackle the threat of the Argentinian superstar, such is Messi's ability to conjure moments of pure genius when scoring and creating goals for his team.
Barcelona's No.10 was once again the difference as they progressed 4-0 on aggregate in their quarter final against Manchester United, scoring twice at the Nou Camp on Tuesday night to take the game away from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side.
And, after Liverpool's 4-1 win over Porto on Wednesday night confirmed their place in the last four to face Barça, Van Dijk was asked by Viasport how he plans to keep Messi quiet over the two fixtures – the Dutch international answering: "I don’t know, we’ll see.
"It’s about doing it all together, it’s never one versus one, it’s never just me against a particular striker. It’s going to be very hard and I think he’s the best player in the world but we’ll see."
The dates for the semi final were confirmed by UEFA early on Thursday morning, with Liverpool set to travel to the Nou Camp on Wednesday 1st May before Barcelona head to Anfield for the return leg the following Tuesday.
The battle between Van Dijk and Messi will be crucial in determining who will progress to the final at the Wanda Metropolitano on June 1st with the victors knowing they will have a fantastic opportunity to lift the Champions League this season.
Whichever team wins the tie will go into the final as favourites, and will face either Tottenham Hotspur or Ajax, both of whom caused major upsets by beating Manchester City and Juventus in their respective quarter finals.