Liverpool defender, Virgil van Dijk, has said Messi won the battle in the first leg, but not the war, as he looks forward to their second leg clash.
Argentina international Messi came to the forefront for Barcelona once again on Wednesday when his late double helped them pick up a hefty 3-0 advantage over Liverpool in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final.
Until the forward’s characteristic pieces of individual excellence, the Blaugrana were finding it difficult to contend with Jurgen Klopp’s visiting Reds side, once again highlighting his importance to Ernesto Valverde’s side.
Van Dijk, who has been recognised as the finest performer in the Premier League this season with the PFA Player of the Year award, was unable to contain the Argentine forward and keep him out.
Speaking after the game, Van Dijk, revealed that he was glad such tests are a rare occurrence for him, with the Netherlands international telling reporters afterwards:
“When you come up against Messi and he produces his best form you can’t do anything.
“I’m grateful that I’m not in Spain and I don’t have to face him every season.
“He scored two goals and I leave very disappointed. He won the battle but not the war.”
“Anything is possible in football. We definitely believe. That’s how we are,”
“We will never give up and we showed today that we can definitely create big chances against them, the only thing is we have to try and score them.”