Virgil van Dijk made his competitive return against Norwich City on Saturday. It made a wonderful 3-0 win something secondary.
Liverpool crushed Norwich City 3-0 at Carrow Road. It was a fantastic performance and one that gave the Reds plenty to shout about.
Mohamed Salah put on the best display. He set up the first two goals before scoring himself – the Egyptian was absolute magic.
And yet, the comfortable win and glorious display felt secondary. That’s because Virgil van Dijk is back.
Van Dijk returns vs Norwich
We haven’t seen Van Dijk in a competitive game since his injury against Everton on October 17th last year. Yes, he played some friendlies this summer but the pace and intensity – let alone the importance – just isn’t the same.
So here we had the real test. Is Van Dijk ready to help Liverpool towards another title challenge?
It appears the answer is ‘yes’. Van Dijk was as magnificent as ever, marshalling Liverpool at the back despite not really breaking a sweat.
Now, he wasn’t perfect. Teemu Pukki got in behind him on a couple of occasions and while Van Dijk dealt with him well, he wasn’t flawless.
But that’s the be expected – we’re not worried at all. We feel pretty confident, in fact, that Van Dijk is going to be a difference-maker in the Premier League.
Everyone saw the impact Ruben Dias had on Manchester City last season as he came in, tightened up their defence, and led a title charge. Well, here comes a player who should have an even bigger effect.
Liverpool should move on several levels with the Dutchman at the back – let alone with Joel Matip, Joe Gomez and Ibrahima Konate as ‘new’ options. Saturday was proof of that.
Yes, the win was absolutely vital but confirmation that Van Dijk is back may be even more important. That should have as big an effect on the season as anything, anywhere.