On one hand, we had the best player in the world in the form of Messi. Opposing him was Premier League PFA Player of the Year Van Dijk.
It was always going to be an intense battle for the latter to stop Messi. And in the end, both Van Dijk and Liverpool failed to stop the Barcelona captain, who netted two goals to hand Barca a 3-0 win and take advantage.
The Argentine forward’s first goal was instinctive, as he followed up Luis Suarez’s shot that came off the bar.
For his second goal, he beat Alisson’s top-right corner from around 25 yards out. Liverpool ran out of luck and steam to concede three well taken goals by Barca.
I just said to Virgil Van Dijk you must be feeling really dizzy. He said What do you mean James? I said Well Messi ran rings around you all night. He just walked off.
— Boring James Milner (@BoringMilner) May 1, 2019
Van Dijk was shite wasn’t he? All these comparisons to truly great defenders have riled me up more than I would like to admit but I’m glad he got dusted vs Barcelona. As good as he is, he can’t touch the likes of Rio, Vidic, Terry etc.
— Doc MUFC (@Doc_Joshi) May 2, 2019
Van Dijk: You can't get beaten by Messi if you just run away from him. pic.twitter.com/AVtpJSQ90q
— Troll Football (@TrollFootball) May 1, 2019
Prior to the match, Van Dijk was asked about how he would plan to stop Messi. The Dutchman had stated that he wouldn’t defend one versus one, but rather the entire defensive line will work together to stop the Spanish side from making inroads.
In the end, the ploy didn’t work, as Messi and Suarez romped past the Liverpool defence on three occasions. Going into the second leg, Van Dijk might need to ask manager Jurgen Klopp to change the style.