The Dutch defender spent two seasons at Parkhead after arriving from Groningen in the summer of 2013, bagging two Scottish Premiership titles and one League Cup.

And after passing his Premier League initiation at Southampton with flying colours – leading the Saints to 6th place in 2016 – Van Dijk has proved just as colossal for Liverpool.

In transforming a previously porous backline into one of the stingiest, the 27-year-old’s displays for the title-chasing Reds have made him a firm favourite for the PFA Player of the Year award – not won by a defender since Chelsea captain John Terry in 2005.

“Really? I didn’t know that,” Van Dijk says in the April 2019 issue of FourFourTwo magazine, out Wednesday.

“I want to focus on achieving something special, which this club hasn’t done for 29 years, and if either myself or any other players are involved in picking up individual awards, that’s great.

“It would be a huge honour, but I’d be very proud if any of the squad win awards for a great season, like Mo Salah did last time.

“Winning the league makes you feel even more proud of yourself and the team. It’s a sign of the hard work you’ve put in over a whole season.

“That motivates you. Winning the Premier League title puts you in the history books forever and makes you a legend. That’s why you play football. You want to become a legend.”

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Sing-song

As a current Liverpool and former Celtic player, Van Dijk is also perfectly placed to answer which club’s fans belt out You’ll Never Walk Alone better: Liverpool, who bellow the anthem before every home game, or Celtic, who play it prior to European ties after adopting the ditty after a 1966 Cup Winners’ Cup semi-final at Anfield?

“Both,” he smiles. “I can’t pick one, as that’s like choosing between your children!

“Sometimes people underestimate the power the fans have on us.

“On Champions League nights especially, the atmosphere is incredible at Anfield. It inspires you throughout the game, giving you that extra push in tough moments.”

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Read the full interview with Virgil van Dijk in the April 2019 issue of FourFourTwo magazine, which also features exclusive chats with Ander Herrera, Lucas Moura and Ruben Loftus-Cheek. Plus, we hail some of the greatest centre-backs of all time, watch the East End team made up entirely of Brazilians, go One-on-One with Dion Dublin and head to Thessaloniki to watch a table-topping bout between PAOK and Olympiakos.

Order a copy, then subscribe!

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