Liverpool, Aug 15 (IANS) Former Champions Liverpool opened their new season with a comprehensive 3-0 win against Norwich City on Saturday night.
Goals by Diogo Jota, Roberto Firmino, and Mohamed Salah ensured the Reds began the campaign by collecting three points in the away match.
But more than victory against Norwich, what comes as a big boost for Liverpool is the return to action by fullback Virgil van Dijk after a 301-day layoff because of an injury in October 2020.
Dutch defender Van Dijk had suffered an ACL injury during the Merseyside Derby at Everton in October 2021 and underwent successful surgery a few weeks later.
On Saturday, he played the full 90 minutes of the match and was his usual efficient self — leading the stats on total touches (95), total passes (89), and passes in the opposition half (37), directing Liverpool’s attack from the back.
With van Dijk and Joot Mantip at the back, Liverpool look very assured at the back and they will only go from strength to strength as the season progresses.
Van Dijk was very satisfied on return to action.
“Excited, very happy obviously to start the game, to get the three points, win 3-0 away, a clean sheet. Obviously, you can’t ask for more. There are obviously still many things to improve but we are early in the season. I’m still getting up to speed so these are the only moments where you can really improve as well,” he told liverpoolfc.com, the club’s official website.
The Dutch defender said he did not suffer any nerves on returning to action after such a long break.
“I wasn’t nervous, I was excited, I wanted to be out there. I wanted to get the game going. In my case I just need repetition, to keep doing things: coming across, pushing up, get the ball, change of play, keep the speed, all these things, what I normally do, and yeah, these are the moments where you can really improve, so that’s what I tried to do,” he said.
With Van Dijk back manning the defence, Liverpool will be far more assured and competitive in the season.