The long wait is finally over. Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez have officially returned from their agonizingly long injury layoffs. The two central defenders made 20-minute cameos in tonight’s pre-season friendly against Hertha Berlin. It was the first game action the duo have seen since they suffered knee injuries in October and November of last year.
While both players were understandably a bit rusty, it was still a very important step in their recovery journeys, and it was clearly a special moment for both van Dijk and Gomez. Van Dijk took to Twitter after the match to thank everyone who has supported his long recovery for the last nine months.
285 days ago, I started on a journey back towards playing. It’s hard to express how I am feeling, but it’s important to me that I say I feel blessed to have had the support of so many incredible people. The surgeon, my physios, coaches and staff who have been with me in my 1/2 pic.twitter.com/jdWKUHykDI— Virgil van Dijk (@VirgilvDijk) July 29, 2021
corner since day one. My teammates for giving me energy and keeping my head up. The fans for their love, support and encouragement. And most of all, my family because without them, I’d be nothing. Thank you. The work doesn’t stop now. It’s only just starting. We keep going! 2/2 pic.twitter.com/OiNLMLO44q— Virgil van Dijk (@VirgilvDijk) July 29, 2021
It will likely still take some time for the pair to regain their match fitness and form, and they will probably not be quite themselves by the time the Premier League season kicks off. However, knowing that they are ready to take the pitch for actual matches again is still a huge boost for the morale of Liverpool’s players and fans alike.