Liverpool’s PL POTY winning centre-back Virgil van Dijk returns from injury in time for Liverpool’s preseason preparation as the club look to replicate their recent successes. After winning the Champions League and Premier League in consecutive seasons, the Reds’ talismanic central defender was injured in a Premier League clash with Jordan Pickford, rupturing his cruciate ligament and ruling him out for the rest of the season.
Now coming back after missing almost nine months of footballing action, van Dijk has been posting videos of his recovery on social media ever since he started rehabilitation. The latest of these has sent Liverpool fans into a tizzy as the excitement over his return to the lineup intensifies.
The Dutch international posted a video of himself hard at work, rigorously going through defensive drills and even scoring a long ranger in the clip, and fans couldn’t contain their happiness in the replies.
What was Virgil van Dijk’s impact on Liverpool?
Virgil van Dijk joined Liverpool FC in January 2018 from fellow Premier League club Southampton for €84.65 million, which was then the record fee for a defender. It has since been broken by Manchester United with their purchase of Harry Maguire. In his latter half-season in 2017/18, van Dijk helped Liverpool to a fourth-place finish in the Premier League and reached the finals of the Champions League – where they lost to a dominant Real Madrid.
2018/19 was a much more successful season for the Reds. Having signed Alisson Becker and Fabinho, van Dijk was surrounded by a world-class defensive setup: a setup that saw van Dijk hit his peak form for Liverpool. Liverpool romped to the Champions League title, after a memorable 4-0 comeback at Anfield against FC Barcelona, and finished second in the Premier League after a drag race to the end with eventual champions Manchester City. Liverpool ended one agonizing point behind the Cityzens, but their form and ruthless dismantling of teams was clear for all to see.
In 2019/20, Liverpool were unstoppable in the league with Virgil van Dijk at the heart of their defence, enduring just three losses on the way to a 99-point Premier League victory. Knocked out pf the Champions League by Atletico Madrid and not making it past the quarterfinals in the Carabao Cup and fifth round of the FA Cup, Liverpool were frustrated on other fronts: but it seemed that domestic dominance was imminent due to the brilliant form of their players.
2020/21 eventually turned out to be a season to forget due to numerous injuries to their first-teamers. The absence of Virgil van Dijk was felt just as much as his presence as the previously unstoppable Reds now found themselves embroiled in a top-four battle at the end of the season. Liverpool return to Premier League action this season when they face Norwich City on the 14th of August and judging by his current progress, we could well see van Dijk lining up for them.
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