Liverpool defender Van Dijk signs new long-term deal

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Pre Season Friendly - Liverpool v Athletic Bilbao - Anfield, Liverpool, Britain - August 8, 2021 Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk applauds the fans as he is substituted Action Images via Reuters/Lee Smith/File Photo

(Reuters) - Liverpool centre back Virgil van Dijk has signed a new long-term deal, the Premier League club said on Friday, with the Netherlands international set to be at Anfield until 2025.

Van Dijk recently returned to action during pre-season after spending nine months on the sidelines with an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury sustained in the Merseyside derby in October.

The defender subsequently chose not to play in the European Championship this summer to focus on his rehabilitation.

"Since day one when I joined the club, I felt so much appreciation from the fans and from my teammates and the staff, that I could be a very important member of this football club,” Van Dijk told Liverpool's website

"It has been going well; unfortunately last season for me personally has been a season to forget, to learn from and take with me, but I have enjoyed my time here and will keep enjoying it in the next couple of years."

Since joining Liverpool from Southampton in January 2018, Van Dijk has made 130 appearances for the club in all competitions and led them to both Champions League and Premier League glory.

Van Dijk played just five league games last season before his injury and Klopp's side felt his absence as they were unable to defend their league title, finishing in third place.

The 30-year-old is the fourth key member of manager Juergen Klopp's squad to sign a contract extension ahead of the new season after defender Trent Alexander-Arnold, midfielder Fabinho and goalkeeper Alisson.

Liverpool will begin their 2021-22 campaign with a trip to Norwich City on Saturday.

(Reporting by Hritika Sharma in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis)

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