Van Dijk, Gomez make long-awaited returns for Liverpool

INNSBRUCK, Austria (AP) — Liverpool captain Virgil van Dijk and fellow defender Joe Gomez made their return from long-term knee injuries Thursday in a friendly against Hertha Berlin in Austria.

Van Dijk and Gomez both came off the bench for the final 20 minutes in Innsbruck. Hertha won the game 4-3.

Van Dijk and Gomez missed most of last season and Liverpool’s Premier League title defense crumbled in their absence.

Van Dijk had surgery in November after damaging an anterior cruciate ligament in Liverpool’s 2-2 Premier League draw at Merseyside rival Everton in October.

Gomez also had knee surgery to repair a tendon he damaged while training for England before their friendly against Ireland in November.

Van Dijk wrote on Twitter after the game that “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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