Liverpool go head to head with Barcelona on Wednesday night, as the Reds contest their second consecutive Champions League semi-final.
Virgil van Dijk, who recently picked up the PFA Player of the Year award, is set to come up against the player he regards as the 'best in the world' in a meeting that has football fans waiting with bated breath.
As quoted by The Guardian, Van Dijk nodded to Messi's brilliance, but insisted his Liverpool side have what it takes to stop the Argentine. He said: "I think he is the best player in the world, but you see how we play and how we defend.
0 - No opposition player has completed a dribble past Virgil van Dijk in any of his 36 PL apps this season. In fact, this run stretches back to last March, meaning he hasn’t been dribbled past by an opponent in any of his last 45 PL apps. Immovable. #PFAAwards #POTY pic.twitter.com/Y8BIsle0vq— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 28, 2019
"We don’t defend one v one, we defend all together and we attack all together as well so we will see. We will be ready." Barcelona recently wrapped their second La Liga title in a row, which has allowed head coach Ernesto Valverde to grant Messi periods of rest ahead of this game.
The Argentinian is expected to be fresh going into Wednesday, but the Liverpool centre-back has insisted his side's focus must be right, as he told reporters: "We are going to face the best player in the world but it is not only him, the whole team has a lot of quality."
The Dutchman will be looking to improve on his last trip to Camp Nou, in which his Celtic side suffered a humiliating 6-1 defeat. As quoted by TeamTalk, the defender said: "It was my first time, my only time and my last time so far so I am looking forward to playing them again. I think this can be totally different than when I was there the last time."
Unlike the Catalan club, the Reds cannot take their focus off their domestic campaign, because the two legs against Barcelona come either side of a tough match away to Newcastle in the Premier League.
The dream scenario for Liverpool would be to come away from this seven day period with three points in the league and a place in the Champions League final, but only time will tell whether they can achieve this impressive feat.