Van Dijk eased after a comeback

Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk has warned fans that he still has a long way to go after recovering from a knee injury before returning to his best form.

The Dutchman played a full 90 minutes of Saturday’s 3-0 victory against Norwich, which was his first competitive appearance since he broke his cruciate ligament in a collision with Everton’s Jordan Pickford all the way back in October 2020.

We are back! ?

– Virgil van Dijk (@VirgilvDijk) August 14, 2021

Having Van Dijk back, as well as both Joe Gomez and Joel Matip, obviously came as a huge boost for Liverpool, and the 30-year-old admitted he was overwhelmed with emotion when he could return to action.

“The first one was very emotional and very tough for many reasons,” he said (via The Guardian). “You visualize the game so many times in your head before you actually play, like I told the club I was not tired because of the game, I was tired because of everything around it.

“It was kind of like an obstacle. I had to get over it, I felt, then it comes again. So that’s what happened in my point of view. I continued to train well and felt safe in my lap. What is very important is that I kept the condition up and we kept zero [against Norwich]. ”

Although he looked solid against Norwich and could clearly play a full 90 minutes again, Van Dijk stressed that he will need plenty of time to rediscover his track and regain the form that led Liverpool to the Premier League glory of 2020.

“It’s not the end of a chapter,” he said. “It’s still getting there. I wanted to be out there, I wanted to play from the first time because I feel I need it and it will improve me.

“My point of view, to feel my own body, [is that] obviously there are many things to improve but I’m not a robot. I can not be back to 100% right away.

Van Dijk wants patience while he recovers / Marc Atkins / Getty Images

“It has been a tough road but I am just happy to be from there again. The journey Joe Gomez and I have had is that if you experience it, you understand what it is. It’s not easy to be out. I am proud of myself and proud of the people who helped me, like my wife and children. ”

Manager Jurgen Klopp will want to avoid overexerting Van Dijk or any of his returning defenders. It was Joel Matip who collaborated with him against Norwich, but Saturday’s meeting with Burnley could be a chance for Gomez and new signing Ibrahima Konate to impress.

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