Virgil van Dijk has played down the buildup to Liverpool’s clash with Man United as one of the biggest games of the season, with it “more massive for the fans.”
The Reds head to Old Trafford on Sunday in a fixture often billed as one of the most high-profile in English football.
But the two sides approach this game at opposite poles: Liverpool top of the league and eight points clear of Man City, and United sitting 12th, just two points above the relegation zone.
Under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, United have very little hope of recapturing their former glory and challenging for the title, with few fans expecting a big result this weekend.
It would be remiss for Liverpool to expect a victory despite their perfect start to the campaign, and it could well be a difficult 90 minutes in Manchester, but Van Dijk is taking a calm stance.
“It’s massive, but it’s more massive for the fans,” he told Sky Sports.
“I think all of the Champions League games are as big as this.
“The whole atmosphere and leading to the actual game is bigger than some other games but I don’t think it’s the biggest of the season.
“The big ones are the Champions League and the ones that are hopefully going to win us the Premier League title.”
Three points at Old Trafford would, of course, give Liverpool a better chance of winning the title, as it would at the least maintain their eight-point lead, but this is not the decisive game it once was.
United could be without both David de Gea and Paul Pogba for the clash, while Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Luke Shaw, Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial are also among the doubts.
Van Dijk described this as “not the ideal situation” for their rivals, but stressed that “we just want to focus on ourselves,” with the Reds prepared to combat an outfit aiming to “bounce back.”
“They’re not in the best way, they’re not fully confident and they’re not in the situation they want to be in,” he continued.
“But the good thing about football is you can bounce back in any game.
“They might think this is the best occasion to bounce back from it but we know that.
“We want to go out and fight for every metre on the pitch and try and take the three points back to Liverpool.”
The Dutchman has been on the winning side against United twice in six meetings, once at Southampton and once at Liverpool—that being the 3-1 victory at Anfield in December.