Lionel Messi has explained why he found it difficult to play against Virgil van Dijk during Barcelona’s Champions League semi-final matches against Liverpool last season.

Jurgen Klopp’s side were given a huge mountain to climb after losing 3-0 in the first leg of their semi-final but a 4-0 win in the return fixture at Anfield secured their place in the final.

Messi scored twice at Camp Nou but failed to make an impact in the second leg as Van Dijk and Liverpool’s defence stood firm against Barcelona’s attack.

And Messi admits Van Dijk has many attributes which make him one of the best defenders in the world.

‘He is a defender that knows how to judge the timing and wait for the right moment to get in or hold on,’ Messi told Marca.

‘He is very fast and big, but he has a lot of agility for his height.

‘He is fast because of its great stride and is impressive, both in defense and attack because he scores many goals.’