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    Friday, August 13, 2021

    Van Dijk Signs New Four-Year Contract with Liverpool

    Virgil van Dijk has signed a new long-term contract with Liverpool.

    The Dutch defender has put pen to paper to keep him at Anfield until 2025 after negotiations between the club and his representatives ran smoothly over the summer.

    The new contract is a reward for his consistent form since joining the Reds over three-and-a-half years ago, a period of time that saw Van Dijk establish himself as one of world football's finest centre-backs.

    Van Dijk becomes the latest star to sign a new deal at Liverpool this summer as the club continue to tie down their biggest names to longer terms.

    Alisson Becker, Fabinho and Trent Alexander-Arnold have all signed contracts in recent weeks alongside Harvey Elliott, Caoimhin Kelleher and Adrian.

    Liverpool have made player retention a key strategy of their summer recruitment plans and will press on for new deals for players such as Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Andy Robertson as Klopp aims to keep the nucleus of the current squad together for the long-term future.

    Van Dijk, who became Liverpool's club-record signing when he joined from Southampton for £75million in January 2018, has had a transformational impact on Liverpool's fortunes since moving from the south coast.

    The Netherlands captain was a key figure in the squad that won the Champions League in 2019, before he starred once more as Klopp's men lifted a first league title at Anfield in 30 years in 2020.

    However, he made just eight appearances in total last term after suffering anterior cruciate ligament damage during the 2-2 draw with Everton in mid-October.

    After a bespoke rehabilitation plan was drawn up following surgery at the end of October last year, Van Dijk came back to action after nine months to play a part in Liverpool's pre-season schedule.

    After returning as a second-half substitute in the defeat to Hertha Berlin, Van Dijk was named in the first of two hour-long friendlies with Bologna last week before he stepped out at Anfield for the first time since October last year at the weekend.

    Van Dijk played around 70 minutes of the 1-1 draw with Athletic Club on Sunday and is now in line for a Premier League return on Saturday when the Reds get their campaign underway at Norwich City.

    On Van Dijk and team-mate Joe Gomez's availability for Norwich, Klopp said this week: “I think so, it looks like (they are available to start). But how it is with these kinds of things, we have nothing to rush in this department.

    “We just have to make a decision then on who will start, who will come on, things like this and if I think they are ready for 90 minutes then they are ready to start.

    “If I think we have to take them off earlier then it makes no sense because centre-half is not actually a position where you want to change during a game and so we will see.

    “But both look really good. An intense season is coming up. We will see how we decide that.”

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