Pep Lijnders urged Virgil van Dijk to enjoy the experience of his return to the fold against Hertha Berlin, as the defender made a cameo appearance alongside former fellow long-term injuree Joe Gomez.
The Dutch international had been ruled out for the season in October following a reckless challenge issued by Jordan Pickford in the Merseyside derby.
“On my way to the bus, I’d walked with Virgil and he asked about the plan,” the 38-year-old told liverpoolfc.com.
“He knows it, but asked again… he wants more minutes, haha!
“‘The plan? To play a few top passes, to catch few players with your long legs,’ I told him.
“I said just enjoy it, try, do your best, because we need doers in our team and that 10 minutes, more or less, isn’t important today.”
The 30-year-old is expected to be used sparingly for the rest of pre-season, as the coaching team look to slowly reintegrate the No.4 and his defensive partner back into the starting lineup.
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The extent to which Van Dijk and Gomez have been missed was made apparent by the reaction of supporters in the stadium following their introduction midweek against Hertha Berlin.
Finishing inside the top four places without our talismanic No.4 was an accomplishment in itself and certainly indicative of the Dutchman’s importance to Jurgen Klopp.
Should we look to properly compete with Manchester City this coming season for the league crown, we’ll need the former Southampton star fit and firing.
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