Liverpool centre back Virgil van Dijk said playing his first competitive game after a lengthy injury layoff was ‘very emotional and tough’ as he returned to action in Saturday’s 3-0 win over Norwich City.
Juergen Klopp’s side enjoyed a comfortable evening at Carrow Road, making a winning start to the new Premier League campaign thanks to goals from Diogo Jota, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah.
Van Dijk played just five league games last season before suffering an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury in last season’s Merseyside derby in October.
“You visualise the game so many times in your head before you actually play… I was not tired because of the game, I was tired because of everything around it,” Van Dijk said.
“It was sort of like a hurdle. I had to get over that, I felt, then it will come again. I kept training well and felt confident in my knee. It’s been a tough road but I am just happy to be out there again.
“It’s not the closing of a chapter. I wanted to be playing from the first time because I feel like I need it and it will improve me. But I am not a robot. I cannot be back to 100% immediately. I need games, time and repetition.”
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