Andy Robertson hailed Virgil van Dijk as the ideal role model for budding defenders after the Liverpool star inspired his side to victory over Manchester United.

Liverpool may be kings of Europe but Virgil van Dijk believes the Reds still have to prove they deserve to remain in the Champions League.

And only a fantastic performance against Atletico Madrid will see the defending European champions into the quarter-finals

The Reds host the La Liga giants at Anfield on Wednesday night looking to overturn the 1-0 deficit from the first leg last month.

Diego Simeone’s side are famed for their ability to spoil games and stop the most prolific of attacks.

So it could be a nervy night for the Merseysiders who need to score to stand a chance of keeping on to their Champions League crown.

Liverpool got back to winning ways with a 2-1 win over Bournemouth on Saturday but they were in the midst of their worst spell of a spectacular season having lost three of their last five games.

“The pressure is always there,” said Van Dijk.

“The thing is when you don’t get good results – we don’t get them too many – we have had three in the last five, but the outside world can talk like we are in a relegation battle.

“It is what it is. We have to deal with that.

“We have to be grown men about it, take it on the chin and show the world why we deserve to be where we are and why we deserve to still be in the Champions League.

“But we know it is going to be unbelievably difficult.”

This will be a night for patience at Anfield against Simeone’s well-drilled side who will no doubt set up defensively to maintain their slender advantage and look to poach an away goal.

“It will be very difficult, with all due respect to Bournemouth, Atletico will be tough, they are a fantastic side,” said the Dutch defender.

“They are one of the best in how they play. They are aggressive, together and they have fantastic players who can hurt you on the break too, so we have to have a fantastic night, all of us. Hopefully we can go through.

“We have some time to prepare and we have to be ready for a very difficult challenge.

“I think so far we have been sticking to our principles and whoever is on the pitch involved will give more than 100 per cent.

“Everyone is looking forward to this game and we all want to go through to the next round.

“We know it is a difficult game and we will try everything we have to beat them. We know how difficult it will be.”

Liverpool are famous for European comebacks and this side pulled off one of the greatest when they overturned a 3-0 deficit against Barcelona last season in the semi-final second leg at Anfield.

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