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Van Dijk joins Liverpool after 9 months absence

Netherlands national football team defender Virgil van Dijk returned to play after a 9-month absence due to a serious knee injury, when he participated in the preparatory match for his Liverpool team against Hertha Berlin, which the Reds lost 3-4 Thursday in Austria.

Van Dijk entered in the 69th minute in place of Mathaniel Phillips, who in turn replaced Joel Matip in the 47th minute.

The Dutch giant said in a tweet on Twitter after the match: “It is difficult to express how I feel, but it is important for me to say that I am happy because I have the support of so many wonderful people. The surgeons, physiotherapists, trainers and technical staff who have been with me in my corner since day one.”

“I thank my teammates for giving me energy and keeping my head up,” he added. Fans love, support and encourage them. Most of all, my family because without it, I would be nothing. Thank you all. The work does not stop now. It’s only the beginning

And we keep progressing!”

Van Dijk, who was named the best player in Europe in the 2018-2019 season, underwent surgery on his knee last October due to an injury to the ligaments of his right knee, which he suffered after a strong intervention from the neighboring Everton international goalkeeper Jordan Pickford in the Premier League derby (2-2). ).

Van Dijk has been absent since then, and he did not even participate with his country in the European Cup finals early this summer.

Van Dijk’s injury, accompanied by fellow defenseman Joe Gomez and Cameroonian Joel Matip in the same period, and then captain Jordan Henderson’s injury, contributed to the red team losing its title of Premier League champion.

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Gomez, in turn, returned to the courts on Thursday and came in as a substitute in the 69th minute, in place of the other alternative, Reese Williams.

German coach Jurgen Klopp commented on the return of Van Dijk and Gomez, saying: “They are back well. I’m not sure, 260 days for Virgil and not much less for Joe, they haven’t played football, so their comeback is good.”

“It was the first step, really important,” he added.

Hertha Berlin advanced with two goals for Argentina’s Santiago Ascalibar (21) and Swat Serdar (31), and Liverpool responded with two goals by Senegalese Sadio Mane (36) and Japanese Takumi Minamino (42).

Hertha Berlin regained the lead in the second half with the Montenegrin double Stefan Jovic (66 and 80), before Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain reduced the difference two minutes before the end.

Liverpool begins its Premier League campaign on August 14 against its host Norwich City, who is back in the top flight after one season of relegation to the first (actually second) division.