Virgil van Dijk has made a seamless return to action for Liverpool this season.
To say that the Reds missed their Herculean centre-back during the 2020/21 campaign would be the mother of all understatements having been ruled out with an ACL injury back in October.
And while it might have taken the remainder of the season for Van Dijk to return to fitness, it seems as though the patience has paid off because the Dutchman looks as though he’s back to his best.
Van Dijk’s Liverpool return
Van Dijk effortlessly took his place alongside Joel Matip for the Reds’ opening Premier League fixtures against Norwich City and Burnley, leading the team to consecutive clean sheets and wins.
However, there could be no escaping the fact that Chelsea‘s visit to Anfield on Sunday afternoon proved a much more significant threat, particularly given the arrival of Romelu Lukaku.
In the end, the spoils were shared on Merseyside with a controversial Mohamed Salah penalty, sparked by a Reece James red card, cancelling out Kai Havertz’s opening header for a 1-1 draw.
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Liverpool 1-1 Chelsea
And just as the scoreline would have you believe, there were plenty of fascinating, individual match-ups across the pitch with both clubs likely to go on and challenge for the Premier League title.
Van Dijk’s battle with Lukaku made for one such collision course, though fans might have been disappointed to see that the Chelsea striker took his chances against Matip for the most part.
Nevertheless, Van Dijk still managed to get the better of Chelsea’s new number nine on several occasions as well as showing his world-class quality regardless of where the Belgian was lurking.
Van Dijk’s highlights vs Chelsea
The 30-year-old was typically classy with his ball control and distribution from deep, while also not being afraid to stick the ball in Row Z if the situation called for it.
So, be sure to do yourselves a favour and check out exactly why Van Dijk is so often called a ‘Rolls Royce defender’ by checking out his best bits during the Chelsea draw down below:
Rolls Royce defender
Now, of course, it’s worth bearing in mind that the key word is ‘highlights’ and Van Dijk’s display wasn’t without the occasional fault, but lest we forget the opposition in question here.
When you consider that this was just Van Dijk’s third competitive game back since suffering one of football’s worst injuries and it came against the European champions, it really is remarkable.
And it goes to show that Van Dijk really earns the title of being a ‘Rolls Royce defender’ by oozing calmness and confidence with the ease and dominance with which he covers every blade of grass.
So, if that’s what Van Dijk can produce when he’s easing himself back into the Premier League, then just imagine the warrior that Liverpool will have on their hands when he’s back to full fitness.