Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez made 'important first step' in return against Hertha Berlin, says Jurgen Klopp

Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez make first Liverpool appearances for over nine months as second-half substitutes in 4-3 friendly defeat to Hertha Berlin; Jurgen Klopp: "So it's nice to have them back. It was the first step, really important"

Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez in action for Liverpool against Hertha Berlin on Thursday
Image: Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez in action for Liverpool against Hertha Berlin on Thursday

Jurgen Klopp says Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez both made an "important first step" in their return from long-term injuries after featuring in Thursday's 4-3 friendly defeat to Hertha Berlin.

The centre-backs came on in the 69th minute after being out of action for over nine months.

Van Dijk has been out since last October with an ACL injury, and days later Gomez was also sidelined for the year when he did damage to his left knee, requiring surgery.

Both had been training with Liverpool in their pre-season camp in Austria, but despite Klopp saying they were unlikely to play any minutes against Hertha Berlin, he sprung a surprise by introducing the pair in the second half.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp
Image: Klopp initially said he did not expect Gomez or Van Dijk to play against Hertha Berlin

After the game, Klopp said: "It was a nice feeling. Started immediately well and usually we all know that the fourth goal is a clear situation which saw and defend well. But that's it.

"I'm not sure, 260-something days for Virg and not much less for Joe they didn't play football, so it's nice to have them back. It was the first step, really important."

Van Dijk: Hard to express my feelings

Van Dijk thanked his surgeon and Liverpool staff for helping him in his recovery, admitting he found it difficult to describe how he felt after his long-awaited comeback.

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"285 days ago, I started on a journey back towards playing," said Van Dijk, writing on Twitter.

"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"

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