The transfer window has yet to close and until it does, Liverpool could still be in the hunt for important reinforcements, following the arrival of Ibrahima Konate from RB Leipzig at the start of July. Nevertheless, having the mighty Virgil van Dijk back in action is almost like having a new signing, now the towering central defender has made his return in pre-season.
While the addition of Konate will undoubtedly bolster the defensive options, the return of Van Dijk has been eagerly anticipated by every Reds fan. Such a reliable colossus at the back for Liverpool, losing his intimidating presence was a major blow for the team last season. Now he is fully fit and available again, an assault on the Premier League title could be on the cards.
Another 45 minutes done!??See you all at Anfield, I can’t wait ?? pic.twitter.com/PGK9aSm7h5— Virgil van Dijk (@VirgilvDijk) August 5, 2021
Best Defender in the World
When Liverpool splashed out £75 million to sign Van Dijk from Southampton, midway through the 2017-18 season, they also smashed the world record fee for a defender. Despite many raised eyebrows at the time, the Dutchman has proved he was worth every penny spent, even going on to make that price-tag seem like a bargain.
The arrival of Van Dijk was the missing piece in the defensive jigsaw puzzle for Klopp, making it possible for his team to finally challenge for top honours. After reaching one Champions League final only to lose out against Real Madrid, the following year Liverpool went on to lift the famous trophy, beating Tottenham Hotspur in the 2019 final.
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Now it was to aim for a prize that had eluded Liverpool for far too long, yet nobody could have predicted just how dominantly the Reds would achieve objective. No team conceded fewer goals than Liverpool during the 2019-20 campaign, as they romped to the Premier League title, smashing numerous competition records. Van Dijk was right at the heart of that success.
Before the injury setback, Van Dijk had gained a whole host of personal accolades. He won the PFA Players’ Player of the Year and Premier League Player of the Year awards, then became the only defender ever to win the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year. Furthermore, Argentine superstar Lionel Messi hailed Virgil as being the toughest and most accomplished centre-back in the world, and praise doesn’t come any higher than that.
Van Dijk Back in Top Shape
Few can doubt that with Van Dijk back in the starting eleven, Liverpool will now have the solidity and reliability they often lacked in defence, throughout what ultimately proved to be a disappointing 2020-21 Premier League campaign. As the keystone in the defensive plans of Klopp, this is the man who can influence everything heading into the new campaign.
Despite the big spending at both Manchester City and Manchester United, with Chelsea also tipped to mount a challenge, bookies have also priced Liverpool as being firmly in the mix. The 2021-22 Premier League season could be one of the most competitive ever, especially if there are four genuine contenders battling it out until the final games.
Having the experience and quality of Van Dijk available once more, many will be looking at Liverpool being back to their solid best, tipped to concede fewer goals than any of their nearest rivals, according to the latest British and Irish betting markets. These are features you should look for in sports betting sites reviewed by SBO, when seeking out better odds for the Reds. Also look for free bets and bonuses, information about banking methods, plus details on bookies who offer the cash out feature when betting on Premier League matches.
Following his relatively comfortable appearances in pre-season, Klopp will already have Van Dijk pencilled in to be starting the opening Premier League games. During his first pre-season outing in Austriaduring the friendly against Hertha Berlin, the Dutchman cheered at his every touch of the ball. Just imagine what the reception will be like at Anfield.
Enthusiasm and Optimism
The return of Virgil van Dijk gives Liverpool fans every reason to be optimistic, heading into the new Premier League season. What’s more, the Reds arguably have greater depth to the whole squad, compared to the last successful title triumph. Let’s hope that everything falls into place for Klopp and his team, with that space in the Anfield trophy cabinet yearning to be filled again.