Monday, November 29

Virgil van Dijk thanks Liverpool and his family after a friendly comeback | Liverpool


Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez have lifted Liverpool by making successful returns after their long-lasting injuries.

The center-backs, who were out for much of last season with major knee injuries, returned in Liverpool’s 4-3 friendly loss to Hertha Berlin in Austria on Thursday night. Van Dijk and Gomez came off the bench for the final 20 minutes in Innsbruck, where Jürgen Klopp’s team played their second full 90-minute match of their mini-tour.

The Netherlands captain had been out since undergoing surgery on the anterior cruciate ligament in his right leg after a clash with Everton’s Jordan Pickford in the Merseyside derby in October. And Van Dijk was quick to praise his support network upon his return.

He wrote on Twitter: “285 days ago, I started a journey back to the game. It’s hard to express how I feel, but it’s important for me to say that I feel blessed to have had the support of so many amazing people. The surgeon, my physical therapists, trainers and staff who have been with me in my corner from day one. To my teammates for giving me energy and keeping my head up.

“To the fans for their love, support and encouragement. And especially my family because without them I would be nothing. Thanks. The work does not stop now. It is just beginning. We move on! “Van Dijk also tweeted an image from an excerpt from the Bible: Isaiah’s ‘way of the righteous’.

Gomez has also recovered from knee surgery to repair a tendon, which was injured while training for England before the friendly against the Republic of Ireland in November. Thursday’s friendly also saw Trent Alexander-Arnold get some much-needed minutes after missing Euro 2020 with a thigh injury.

Hertha led 2-0 in the 31st minute through Argentine midfielder Santiago Ascacibar and Suat Serdar’s shot before Liverpool struck back to restore parity at halftime. Kostas Tsimikas crossed for Sadio Mané to convert from close range and Takumi Minamino came back from the tie after a good job from Mohamed Salah and Naby Keïta.

Liverpool’s 16-year-old replacement Kaide Gordon came close twice before Hertha regained the lead through Stevan Jovetic. It ran clear to slip home Hertha’s fourth goal and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s volley in the 88th minute made it 4-3.

The loss was Liverpool’s first in preseason after two 1-1 draws in mini-games against Wacker Innsbruck and Stuttgart and last Friday’s 1-0 victory against Mainz.

During the Hertha friendly, Liverpool wore black armbands in memory of Andrew Devine. Players and staff had previously observed 97 seconds of silence at their training base in Austria as a tribute to Andrew, who died this week from severe brain damage he suffered in the 1989 Hillsborough crush.

Andre Rebello, the Liverpool coroner, ruled that Devine died directly from those brain injuries “which were to prove fatal 32 years later”, and that he was legally the 97th victim of the disaster.




www.theguardian.com

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