McBurnie has played twice against the man widely considered to be the best defender in the world, in both United's games against the Premier League champions-elect this season.
United were good value for a point in the home game at Bramall Lane, until a mistake from Dean Henderson gifted Gini Wijnaldum the winner, while an early goal for the hosts at Anfield paved the way for a 2-0 win.
And the game left a lasting impression on McBurnie for other reasons, too. Speaking to the Keeping the Ball on the Ground podcast, McBurnie said: "The Premier League is so different to the Championship. There are so many mistakes in the Championship, defenders there are stupid. But not in the Premier League.
"It took me a few months to get up to speed. I had to do gym for the first time in my life!
"I bounced off van Dijk and realised I needed to do a bit of bench press. He had everything and I felt like a little girl against him.
"I'm skinnier than a lot of defenders so when the ball goes up in the air, I give them a nudge in the air and that's always worked, at any level.
"I tried it with van Dijk. He was off-balance, and I still bounced straight off him. I thought: 'I'll have to go and play off Joel Matip here instead!'."