The countdown to the Champions League final is well underway.
Liverpool have the opportunity to make history and capture their sixth European cup, but Real Madrid stand in their way as they look to make it four titles in just five years.
Supporters can’t wait to see the two continental giants lock horns in Kiev on May 26.
One of the key battles in the final will, of course, concern Liverpool’s defence up against Cristiano Ronaldo.
Ronaldo picked up an injury during the 2-2 draw with Barcelona and his availability before the Champions League climax looked in doubt.
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL APPROACHING
Nevertheless, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner looks set to step off the treatment table just in time to probe Liverpool’s defence.
Trent Alexander-Arnold looks the man who will be engaged in the most individual duels with Ronaldo, but his emergence as a poacher in the Real Madrid attack will ensure nobody in the Liverpool backline is safe.
That, naturally, includes Virgil van Dijk.
VIRGIL VAN DIJK VS CRISTIANO RONALDO
The Dutchman has been a rock in Liverpool’s defence since his January arrival and has improved his teammates around him with Dejan Lovren particularly benefitting.
May 26 won’t be the first time that Van Dijk has faced off against Ronaldo, either, with the pair playing against one another in a recent international friendly between Portugal and the Netherlands.
On that occasion, there was no doubt who won the battle and that’s Van Dijk.
The Netherlands ran out 3-0 victors with Van Dijk not only keeping Ronaldo under his thumb but even popping up with a goal for good measure. Check out what football fans were tweeting:
Ronaldo when he has played against Van Dijk:
Ronaldo: 0 goals
Van Dijk: 1 goal
— Michael (@MagicaIMessl) March 27, 2018
Ronaldo may have gotten the better of Salah, but no one gets the better of big man Van Dijk.
— Jordan Sadler (@JordanSadler95) March 26, 2018
Van Dijk captains his country, scores against the European champions and pockets Ronaldo. What a player. pic.twitter.com/enSYK6zzio
— KorTs (@KorTs_official) March 26, 2018
VAN DIJK HAS RONALDO ON LOCK DOWN LOOOOOL
— A.J. 🇩🇰 (@Rxglsta) March 26, 2018
Van Dijk really put Ronaldo in his breast pocket, 0 shots? Lmao naw
— Raizel. (@mutantXIII) March 26, 2018
Cristiano Ronaldo- last time seen in Van Dijk's pocket.😎
— BelieverNotDoubter (@AdaBjelan) March 26, 2018
Liverpool fans will be asking for more of the same, then!
Van Dijk was imperious on that particular occasion and Kopites will have to hope he copes similarly when the referee blows the first whistle in Kiev.
In fact, Ronaldo was prevented from mustering a single shot during the game.
Obviously, there is quite the difference between an international friendly and the Champions League final.
And there’s just something about Ronaldo and Real Madrid that well and truly comes alive in Europe’s premier competition.
That being, while Los Blancos may have fancied their chances against a Liverpool defence earlier in the season, they’ll be well aware of the challenge that faces them now.
There’s less than two weeks to wait and see who’ll come out on top.