The Reds talisman surprised many as he played 43 minutes of an hour long friendly against Bologna, and looked comfortable as he came through the contest unscathed
Liverpool FC lay flowers for victims of the Hillsborough disaster
Jurgen Klopp offered a huge hint that Virgil van Dijk will begin the season at the heart of the Liverpool defence, as the Dutchman made his first start since returning from serious injury.
The Reds talisman surprised many as he played 43 minutes of an hour long friendly against Bologna, and looked comfortable as he came through the contest unscathed.
More significantly though, boss Klopp selected van Dijk alongside three defenders who are certain to start the opening Premier League fixture of the season, when they visit Norwich on August 14.
He partnered Joel Matip at the heart of defence, with Andy Robertson returning to form the familiar full back pairing with Trent Alexander-Arnold.
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It caps a remarkable return for van Dijk, who snapped knee ligaments nine months ago, and has since waged a long lonely battle to get back to his top level.
Liverpool played two separate hour long friendlies against the Italian side, with Joe Gomez partnering new boy Ibrahima Konate at centre half in the second game, also coming through 43 minutes without setback.
The Reds won the first game 2-0 with goals from forwards Diogo Jota and Sadio Mane, who formed a front three along with Mo Salah that also looks likely to start the first league game of the season.
James Milner led the side and was pleased with the performance of a team that likely contains many of Liverpool’s opening day starters: “I thought we’ve gone up another level again in terms of the way we worked.
“We worked on the pressing, how we wanted to do it, yesterday in training and both goals I think came from that so that shows that the work we’re doing is paying off…it was a good step up and closer to where we want to be.”
Liverpool also won the second game 1-0 with a goal from Taki Minamino.
Liverpool City council meanwhile, is offering free tickets for Monday’s friendly with Osasuna, in a draw open to fans who show they have been vaccinated against Covid-19.