Virgil van Dijk is still waiting to get back on Liverpool’s top scorer list but a goal that had been waiting for his country for two and a half years finally ended on Monday.
The central defender played for the Netherlands against Gibraltar for the second time in a row during the international break, with ex-Red Gini Wijnaldum also in the team.
After a forced absence from the game with a cruciate ligament injury that kept Van Dijk unable to represent his country for 11 months, he now has four games under his belt.
The latter was a memorable one when Van Dijk engraved his name on the scoresheet after just nine minutes thanks to his signature header from a corner, ending a 935-day wait for his country on five.
A defeat began for Louis van Gaal’s side as they piled another five unanswered goals to score a 6-0 win and keep just one point from Italy in their World Cup qualifying group.
“Proud of the boys this week,” wrote Van Dijk on Instagram. “It’s a great feeling to score a goal after such a long time! Hopefully we can qualify in the next international season! “
The Dutchman will now return to Merseyside as his country’s captain after 180 minutes and luckily return unscathed ahead of Liverpool’s trip to Watford on Saturday.
Similarly, Mohamed Salah will return to Kirkby with a clean health certificate after finishing his international campaign with Egpyt with a 3-0 win over Libya.
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It was the third and final goal and Salah survived the entire 90-minute game, which means that this season he has played a total of 961 minutes out of a possible 1080 minutes for club and country.
Eventually, Leighton Clarkson made his second appearance for the England U20s, playing for Andy Edwards’ side for 90 minutes as they swept the Czech Republic aside with a 5-0 win.
A multitude of Reds will be on duty on Tuesday as the break nears its end, with players like Jordan Henderson, Andy Robertson, Sadio Mane, Naby Keita, Takumi Minamino and Kostas Tsimikas pitting against each other for minutes.