Although Liverpool were, ultimately, outclassed by Hertha Berlin in an exciting seven-goal pre-season thriller, Jurgen Klopp was delighted by the return of two of his long-term injury absentees.
It’s been almost a year since both Virgil Van Dijk and Joe Gomez have been able to play together at the heart of the Reds back line.
However, both managed to get a run out in Austria for the final 20 minutes of the match, and that pleased their manager more than the result.
“It was a nice feeling, huh? A nice feeling,” Klopp was quoted as saying by the Liverpool ECHO.
“We started really well and usually the fourth [goal] is a situation, you saw it, that we defend well. But that is it.
“It’s been 200 and 80 something days [out] for Virg and not much less for Joe that they haven’t played football, so it’s nice that we have that first step. It was really important.”
The double return bodes well for Liverpool ahead of the new Premier League campaign.
If there was one area where the Anfield-based outfit struggled throughout the 2020/21 season, it was in the centre of defence.
Whether Klopp will feel comfortable in utilising both players from the beginning of 2021/22 is a moot point at this stage. Clearly, any setbacks now would have a marked effect on the side in the early stages of the new season.
With Manchester City so far ahead of the chasing pack, Liverpool have it all to do to regain the title that they won the season before last, but they must be sensible with the timeline for Van Dijk and Gomez.