In the first chapter, Virgil reflects on why he wanted to make the move to Liverpool...

It’s hard to believe it’s already been a year since I agreed to join Liverpool, but I can remember everything very clearly.

Moving clubs is always a big decision for a player and it was no different for me. When everything was going on and the interest from Liverpool came, you have to think about everything: the players there, people who work at the club, the fans, the stadium, the training ground, lifestyle – everything.

Also, how is the manager as a manager, how does he take care of the players? How are the fans going to react when I come in and play well, have a bad game or anything else?

There are all these things you have to take into consideration.

I had already played here twice as an opposition player. The first one was a draw, 1-1, when Christian [Benteke] scored a header and Sadio equalised for Southampton. The year after, we were in the semi-final of the League Cup, but I was injured and I didn’t play here. Then, the last time I was here as an opposition player, I lost 3-0 with Southampton.

Playing at Anfield was always something I looked forward to and enjoyed. Every time I played here, I enjoyed the atmosphere, the stadium, the pitch is always fantastic. It was always a good feeling to think about coming here.

My earliest memories of Liverpool are probably when I started watching the Champions League as a kid. When a Dutch team played in it, the TV would always show the highlights from the other games, so that’s the first time I became aware of Liverpool. I can’t remember exactly when, but then again everyone knows Liverpool. That’s nothing new or nothing strange. Liverpool are one of the biggest football clubs in the world and I am very happy to be here and be a part of this club.

All of these thoughts came into my mind when I made the decision to come here. Everyone is different in how they want to proceed in their careers; some players maybe don’t really care too much about how things are outside of the pitch, but I am more like ‘everything needs to be good’. If you look at the clubs I’ve played for, Groningen is a very warm club based up north in Holland, with normal people who are down to earth. Celtic is like a family as well – everyone lives and breathes together for Celtic and they’re also one of the biggest clubs in the world with great fans. Southampton is a fantastic club as well where people are normal, who are always working hard.

So, it is always a thing that plays in my mind – I don’t want to be playing for a club where when things are going bad that you cannot count on them or you don’t have a feeling that the people have your back. I think it’s a very important thing and you feel you’re part of a real family when people are standing behind you whenever you need them.

So, in the last year, everything I was expecting from Liverpool has come true. In fact, some things are even better than I could have imagined they would be.

The people who work for the club, who work at Melwood, at the stadium and elsewhere are all fantastic people. Everything has been magnificent, fantastic for me.

Things have been going well both personally and for the club as well, so maybe that helps settling in. The people have been helping me too. It feels like a family club and that’s something I really, really wanted and it’s definitely happened.

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