Van Dijk has established himself as one of the world's best defenders in the world since moving to Liverpool in 2018.
In the new book called Thou Shall Not Pass: The Anatomy of Football's Centre-Half, Van Dijk revealed winning battles on the field is more in the mind than people might realise.
He states: "Some people suggest I make the game look easy, but trust me, every game is very tough.
"We play against world-class strikers, very physical strikers, and never am I thinking, 'this is easy'. Maybe, though, I want my opponent to think I am.
"Look at Roger Federer. If you see him play tennis, you think he doesn't sweat.
"Mentally, that must be so tough for his opponent, who will think he's not trying."
He added: "Sometimes I think like that. Try to get into the head of the opponent, not by talking to him, not by kicking him, but trying to make him think that if he is going to play well or score today, he's going to have to step up.
"Yes, you have to be confident in your own ability, otherwise people will walk all over you.
"There are other ways to win games; you don't have to kick or curse people out."
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