The Liverpool defender ended a 10-month absence from Premier League action by starring in the opening day victory over Norwich City.
Virgil van Dijk insists he is not at 100% fitness yet after making his first Premier League appearance since October 2020.
The Netherlands international ended a 10-month absence from the English top-flight by playing the 90 minutes of Liverpool’s 3-0 win over Norwich City on Saturday evening.
It marked another significant step for Van Dijk in his long recovery from a gruesome knee injury. He had little to do at Carrow Road but was effective when called upon.
📊 Virgil Van Dijk’s contribution on PL return for @LFC
92 touches (most in match)
Completed 79/85 passes
3/4 aerial duels won
Liverpool lost as many PL games (8) following his injury last season as in his 96 PL apps for the club pic.twitter.com/NFAXlbWBFT
— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) August 14, 2021
“Being back is not the closing of a chapter,” said Van Dijk on his return to fitness as per The Guardian.
“It is still getting there. I wanted to be out there. I wanted to be playing from the first match because I feel I need it and it will improve me. From my point of view, knowing my own body, there are plenty of things to improve, but I am not a robot.
“I cannot be back to 100% immediately. The thing is, I have played and the first one was very emotional and very tough for many reasons. You visualize the game so many times in your head before you actually play.
“I was tired because of everything around the game. It was sort of like a hurdle. I had to get over that. I felt like then it will come again. So that is what happened in my point of view.
“I kept training well and felt confident in my knee. It’s been a tough road but I am just happy to be out there again.”
Van Dijk and Liverpool return to action this Saturday for another Premier League match at home to Burnley.