Liverpool have received a significant boost ahead of the new campaign after Virgil van Dijk extended his contract with the club until the summer of 2025.
The Netherlands captain became the world’s most expensive defender when he moved from Southampton to Liverpool in a £75m transfer back in January 2018.
Since arriving on Merseyside, Van Dijk has undoubtedly lived up to his price tag, establishing himself as one of the best central defenders in the modern era. He became a crucial cog in Klopp’s setup, scoring 13 goals and providing six assists in 130 appearances for the Reds, inspiring them to a maiden Premier League title and sixth Champions League crown while finishing second in the Ballon D’Or in 2019.
However, a serious knee injury sustained in last season’s Merseyside derby ruled Van Dijk out for nine months, meaning that he missed the majority of 2020/21. With fellow centre-backs Joe Gomez and Joel Matip also sidelined with long-term injuries, it left Klopp needing to cobble together a plethora of previously untried defensive partnerships.
Liverpool’s title defence duly collapsed, with an unprecedented six-game losing streak at Anfield over the winter taking hold in Van Dijk’s absence.
However, after making his comeback to first-team action in pre-season, the former Celtic ace is looking forward to what the new campaign brings.
“All the hard work we’ve put in so far continues, and I am looking forward to what the future brings together with Liverpool. I’m delighted, very happy and proud,” Van Dijk said.
“Since day one, when I joined the club, I felt so much appreciation from the fans and from my teammates and the staff, that I could be a very important member of this football club.
“It has been going well; unfortunately last season for me personally has been a season to forget, to learn from and take with me, but I have enjoyed my time here and will keep enjoying it in the next couple of years altogether with all of you,” he concluded.
Liverpool kick off their new season with an away fixture against newly-promoted Norwich City on Saturday evening, and Van Dijk is excited to get going again.
“I feel like I am ready for the weekend, so we’ll see what the manager decides. It is going to be a totally different atmosphere and mindset for me personally as well,” he added.
The club’s supporters will be absolutely buzzing that their talismanic defender has signed a new contract, giving them a new wave of hope and optimism ahead of the upcoming campaign.