Liverpool centre-half Virgil van Dijk is back! The Dutchman played the full 90 minutes in the 3-0 win over Norwich City at Carrow Road.
It’s particularly outstanding as it’s the first time the 30-year-old has featured in a competitive game in ten months.
With a couple of pre-season appearances under his belt over the summer, a sharp return was always on the cards for van Dijk.
There were question marks over him and Joe Gomez ahead of the Premier League’s opening day, but the No.4 made the cut.
Speaking after the full-time whistle, van Dijk said it was “very emotional” playing for Liverpool again after so long on the side-lines.
“It is very good,” he told the Liverpool Echo. “I am proud, a lot of hard work so far has been put in to get where I am and obviously I’ve had a lot of help from my wife and my kids.
“Obviously the thing is I have played and the first one was very emotional and very tough for many reasons.
“You visualise the game so many times in your head before you actually play so as I said to the club I was not tired because of the game – I was tired because of everything around it.
“And 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.”
For Liverpool fans, van Dijk taking to the field again was enough to celebrate – never mind the result at Carrow Road.
The experienced defender is a crucial member of Jurgen Klopp’s squad, and having him back in the mix will have an immeasurable impact this season.
Playing the full 90 minutes against Norwich can’t be sniffed at either – it likely means van Dijk is finally ready to go again, but that call will of course come from the boss week-by-week.