What started as rumors of a testimonial has now turned into a full-fledged all-star event, with former Liverpool teammates of Steven Gerrard and opponents throughout the Premier League and beyond confirming their attendance for the charity event on March 29. Kop favorites are littered throughout the list, with the likes of Xabi Alonso and Luis Garcia announcing their returns, and added to that roster will be the Man for the Big Occasion, Dirk Kuyt.
The Dutch striker has continued a successful career for club and country, plying his trade for Fenerbache in the Turkish Super Lig and forcing his way into Louis Van Gaal's Dutch side at last summer's World Cup. He makes his way back to Merseyside for the first time since leaving as a visitor, which is a reality he had been awaiting since his departure at the end of the 2011-2012 season:
"To get the call was very exciting because I've never been back and it will be very special just to go back to Liverpool, to see the people, to go back to Melwood and say 'hello' to everyone. I know a lot has changed since I've been gone. There's almost no-one left there anymore [from the squad I played with]. But when I got the phone call about the game, it was a bit emotional. To have the chance to go back one more time to Anfield, and to play with some of the teammates who I played with during my six years, will be amazing."
Kuyt's status as a cult hero at Liverpool was well-earned. Never the fastest, flashiest, or most aesthetically pleasing footballer, he nevertheless managed to pop up with some incredibly important goals, often produced through sheer force of will alone. In the current squad there's a few who could match his workrate, but none who could surpass him in his prime. A tireless worker, he kept himself fit and available, and while his last season on Merseyside didn't go according to plan, he still had an influence up until his time in red was over.
Like so many others who will feature that weekend, Dirk Kuyt will enjoy a sentimental return, and given what he contributed to Liverpool in his six years with the club, it will be more than justified.