Watch Virgil van Dijk's embarrassing return to Liverpool as he is nutmegged by City flop and falls over before concedingJuly 30, 2021
VIRGIL VAN DIJK made his long-awaited return to Liverpool's starting XI on Thursday night – but the defender was left red-faced 10 minutes before the final whistle.
The Dutchman returned to action in the Reds' pre-season friendly against Hertha Berlin, which they lost 4-3.
The match was Van Dijk's first since suffering the knee injury that saw him miss the majority of the 2020/21 season.
Van Dijk, 30, was his usual dominant self for large portions of the match, although he was left with egg on his face after Hertha scored their fourth.
The centre-back was nutmegged by Stevan Jovetic and sent spinning on his knees seconds before the former Manchester City hitman slammed the ball home.
And rival fans had a field day after seeing the Netherlands international was at fault for the final goal of the match.
One said: "'Best defender in the world' has just had his ankles broken."
Another said: "Always been a fraud. Only centre half that runs away from the ball to protect his dribbling stats."
And another said: "Spun like a bottle top."
I feel blessed to have had the support of so many incredible people.
Several footy fans, however, were quick to leap to Van Dijk's defence.
One said: "He's been out for 9 months, f**k me give the guy a break"
Another said: "He’s obviously going to be rusty."
Reds boss Jurgen Klopp was delighted to have Van Dijk and England international Joe Gomez back at his disposal, saying after the match: "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."
An over-the-moon Van Dijk took to Twitter after the match to express his delight, tweeting: "285 days ago, I started on a journey back towards playing.
"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.
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"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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