Virgil van Dijk made his long-awaited Liverpool return this week, playing a little over 10 minutes vs Hertha BSC. Pep Lijnders lets us know where the Dutchman’s head was at.
Liverpool suffered a disappointing defeat against Hertha BSC on Thursday. But really, no one is too worried – there was too much positive about the game.
Above all, it saw the Liverpool return of both Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez. Neither has played since late 2020, with the former being out since October 17th and the latter just a few weeks after that.
But they’re finally back and on the right path to their best selves. Though, that’ll take time, of course.
This was a huge moment for Liverpool, who struggled badly in their absence last season. It was a huge moment for the players, too, and we can get some taste of just how huge thanks to Pep Lijnders.
The Reds coach has kept up a wonderful pre-season blog on Liverpoolfc.com. This time, he explained a conversation he had with Van Dijk before his big Liverpool return.
“On my way to the bus, I’d walked with Virgil and he asked about the plan,” wrote Lijnders. “He knows it, but asked again. He wants more minutes, haha! ‘The plan? To play a few top passes, to catch a few players with your long legs,’ I told him.
“I said just enjoy it, try, do your best, because we need doers in our team and that 10 minutes, more or less, isn’t important today.
“He told me it is 285 days since the injury and that his whole family would be watching. Unbelievable, what a moment. I told him it would be great if he leads immediately – he said that comes with the package.
“Hopefully the passes as well, I said. Wow, it’s so good to have him back so close to us. Long may it continue. “
Wow, indeed. It’s fantastic to see Van Dijk so eager to get back to things and we’re thrilled he’s featuring again.
Patience is key, of course, but we can’t help but get excited. With this one return – let alone Gomez, too – Liverpool are contenders again.