Virgil van Dijk expressed his gratitude for the support he has received after making his return in Liverpool’s 4-3 friendly defeat to Hertha Berlin.
Van Dijk made his first appearance since suffering an anterior cruciate ligament injury in the Merseyside derby last October at the Tivoli Stadion in Tirol on Thursday.
The Netherlands captain and fellow defender Joe Gomez, who had been sidelined with a knee injury since November, were introduced by Jurgen Klopp with 20 minutes to go.
Van Dijk later thanked those who had helped him on the road to recovery during his lengthy absence.
He tweeted: “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 corner since day one. My team-mates 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!”
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
Reds boss Klopp said: “I’m not sure, 260-something days for Virgil and not much less for Joe that they didn’t play football, so it’s nice to have them back. It was the first step, really important.”
Strikes from Santiago Ascacibar and Suat Serdar left Liverpool two goals down, but Sadio Mane and Takumi Minamino restored parity.
Stevan Jovetic’s brace gave Hertha a two-goal advantage once again, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scoring Liverpool’s third goal after Van Dijk’s header was saved.