Virgil van Dijk may still be waiting to return to the scoresheet for Liverpool, but a goal two-and-a-half years in the waiting for his country finally ended on Monday.
The centre-back lined up for his second successive start of the international break for the Netherlands as they hosted Gibraltar, with ex-Red Gini Wijnaldum also in the XI.
After an enforced absence from the game with an ACL injury ensured Van Dijk was unable to represent his country for 11 months, he now has four games under his belt.
The latter of which was a memorable one as Van Dijk etched his name on the scoresheet with just nine minutes on the clock thanks to his trademark header from a corner, ending a 935-day wait to take his goal tally to five for his country.
It kickstarted a rout for Louis van Gaal’s side as they piled on a further five unanswered goals to see out a 6-0 win to keep within one point of Italy in their World Cup qualifying group.
“Proud of the boys this week,” Van Dijk penned on Instagram. “Great feeling to get a goal after so long! Hopefully, we can qualify in the next international period!”
The Dutchman will now make his way back to Merseyside after 180 minutes of action captaining his country, thankfully, returning unscathed ahead of Liverpool’s trip to Watford on Saturday.
Similarly, Mohamed Salah will return to Kirkby with a clean bill of health after closing out his international campaign with Egpyt with a 3-0 win over Libya.
The 29-year-old, like
It was for the third and final goal and Salah saw out the entire 90-minute match, meaning he has now played a total of 961 minutes of a possible 1080 for club and country this season.
Finally, Leighton Clarkson made his second appearance for England’s under-20s, playing the full 90 minutes for Andy Edwards’ side as they swept the Czech Republic aside with a 5-0 win.
A host of Reds are to be in action on Tuesday as the break nears its end, with the likes of Jordan Henderson, Andy Robertson, Sadio Mane, Naby Keita, Takumi Minamino and Kostas Tsimikas all vying for minutes.