Virgil van Dijk is ready for the challenge of facing Robert Lewandowski, with the Liverpool centre-half aware of what is required from him in order to contain the prolific Bayern Munich striker.
Trying to keep the Poland international quiet is the next test facing the world’s most expensive defender.
Jurgen Klopp’s Reds are due in Germany on Wednesday for the second leg of a heavyweight Champions League last-16 encounter.
Van Dijk sat out the first meeting at Anfield through suspension and watched on as others were able to limit the threat of Lewandowski in a 0-0 draw.
Liverpool are now looking for their commanding Dutchman to complete the job, with a game plan having already been put in place.
Van Dijk told UEFA’s official website of facing Lewandowski: “You need to be aware of the qualities of every striker you face, as I always am, but sometimes you need to be smart and more than 100% ready for anything.
“If he’s trying to run at you, trying to get past you, you need to be ready for that as well. You don’t need to give any opportunities to those strikers because they will punish you and they will score.”
Lewandowski is not the only match-winner in Bayern’s star-studded squad, with Van Dijk adding on their other attacking weapons: “They have a lot of great players and Arjen [Robben] has been fantastic for years.
“I’ve seen him up close with the [Dutch] national team. He’s a fantastic professional. He’s been a bit unlucky with injuries, but he’s shown throughout his career how good he is and he still has a lot of quality.
“He is very dangerous. His left foot is something special and he’s been doing it for years – cutting in, looking for the top corner with his left foot. If he plays we need to be aware of that, but they have quality all over the pitch.”
Van Dijk has shown throughout his time at Liverpool that he is capable of competing with the very best, with a record-breaking £75 million ($97m) transfer fee considered to be money well spent by Klopp.
On learning of the Reds’ interest, Van Dijk said: “Liverpool is such a massive club, I was very proud of the interest. In the end, when the deal got done, I was just very happy for me and my family.
“I was proud of myself and I was proud of the people close to me who helped me along the way. It’s been over a year now and we’ve come a long way. I’ve been progressing as a player and as a person. There’s still a lot to come, I think.”
He added on the pressure of life at Anfield: “There’s always pressure at a big club. I’d rather play with pressure than without.
“I’m very proud to play for all these fans, for the manager, with these fantastic players and to wear the shirt every game. To play with pressure is always a good thing. I like to play with pressure.