‘The king is back,’ Liverpool supporters exclaim as Virgil van Dijk returns from injury.
On Thursday, Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez made their long-awaited comebacks in a pre-season friendly for Liverpool.
After Jordan Pickford’s unpunished, reckless challenge during a tense Merseyside derby last October, the Dutchman was forced to sit out the majority of the season.
Van Dijk tore his anterior cruciate ligament and was forced to miss the Netherlands’ Euro 2020 campaign as a result of the operation.
On Thursday evening, the defender made his long-awaited return, coming on as a second-half substitute in Liverpool’s friendly against Hertha Berlin.
Joe Gomez, a fellow centre-back, has also returned to the team after suffering a patella tendon rupture while on international duty with England last November, which forced him to miss the rest of the 2020/21 season.
The injury to the 24-year-old came just one month after van Dijk’s season-ending setback.
Their return to the side was a welcome sight for Reds fans after a nine-month absence.
In a lengthy Twitter statement, Van Dijk praised his teammates and the entire Liverpool staff for helping him recover from injury.
“I started on a trip back to playing 285 days ago,” he added. It’s difficult to put into words how I’m feeling, but it’s vital for me to state that I consider myself fortunate to have had the support of so many wonderful people.
“The surgeon, my physiotherapists, coaches, and support personnel who have been by my side since the beginning.
“I owe it to my teammates to keep me energized and keep my head up. For their love, support, and encouragement, the fans. Most importantly, my family, without whom I would be nothing. Thank you very much. The effort isn’t going to end now. It’s merely the beginning. We’re not stopping now!”