Virgil van Dijk joins in with Liverpool's pre-season training

Tom Gott
Van Dijk is back in training
Van Dijk is back in training / CATHERINE IVILL/Getty Images

It's happening. It's finally happening.

Liverpool have started their pre-season training in Austria, and Virgil van Dijk is among the group already training.

He's back.

We haven't seen Van Dijk for nine months, as it was back in October that a nasty collision with Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford left the Dutchman with a torn ACL that ended his season just five games in.

There had been speculative optimism that Van Dijk might return before the end of the campaign, but that didn't happen, and neither did the appearance at Euro 2020 that some had hoped for either.

He was left behind by Dutch boss Frank de Boer to allow him to finish up the final steps of his recovery, and it seems as though that was the right call. Van Dijk is back running on the pitch and did not appear to be struggling with his injury.

"I’m actually quite good; I’m feeling positive and full of energy and I’m obviously working very hard," he told Liverpool's official website of his fitness back in May. "It’s been a very, very tough journey so far, but I am in a good place right now and I’m progressing nicely.

"I am very strong at the moment, I am doing the right things and I can’t wait to be out there with the team again. It looks like I am on schedule to definitely be in pre-season with the boys.

"I am aiming for that and it looks like it is going to happen, but obviously you never know in football and you never know in life, but I am feeling very positive and ready to go. We’ll see."

Despite their excitement towards his return, Liverpool will proceed with caution. Jurgen Klopp knows all about the perils of losing a centre-back (or four) to injury, and Van Dijk will not be allowed back into a match until everyone involved is 100% satisfied he is healthy.

It's for that reason that Liverpool wrestled their way to the front of the queue to sign Ibrahima Konate from RB Leipzig. The man known as 'Ibou' sealed a £36m move to Anfield earlier this summer and will help the side while Van Dijk finds his footing again, alongside fellow injured defenders Joe Gomez and Joel Matip.