There were butterflies to settle and kinks to work out, but Liverpool’s manager and two of its stars were buoyed by the Reds’ season-opening 3-0 win over Norwich City at Carrow Road on Saturday.
Alisson Becker was happy to keep a clean sheet and see Joel Matip and Virgil van Dijk in front of him, while Van Dijk himself was thrilled to be back in a meaningful match.
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As for Jurgen Klopp, he was simply happy that “Football is back.”
“The boys are fit but you have to get used to the feeling again, that it’s really exhausting but you can go [on],” Klopp said, according to the BBC. “You have to get over that point in the game, and we did, and hopefully next week we’ll be fresher for longer.
“We were not here to show the most exciting football, just to get the basis for the new season, and we did. Football is back.”
Van Dijk made his first PL appearance since an injury in the Merseyside derby and was largely very good even accounting for newly-promoted opposition.
And Van Dijk is feeling like Liverpool can achieve plenty this season.
“Thinking about our own team, if we stay fit, we have a good chance to be up there,” Van Dijk said. “To play against world-class strikers again and world-class teams, and when you can’t predict where you will be at the end of the season, it’s exciting.”
Van Dijk was paired with Matip and the chances were few and far between for the Canaries, although Alisson was called upon to make a pair of quickfire saves on Grant Hanley and Ben Gibson late in the contest.
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“It is really good to have Virgil and Joel in front of me,” Alisson said. “They give a lot of sense of safety. … [My save] was needed to keep a clean sheet. I don’t think the save affects the result but it feels good.
“It feels as good as scoring last minute,” Alisson joked and made sure everyone knew he was kidding. This wasn’t saving Liverpool’s top four hopes against West Brom, after all!
🗣 "You go from being fully fit to the next day, you can't walk. You're full of medication, full of pain, you can't sleep."
Virgil van Dijk gives an insight in to how he felt when he first suffered his injury last season pic.twitter.com/X1MRacbMdE
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) August 14, 2021