Liverpool Pre-Season Training Session
Photo by John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Liverpool’s starting center-backs officially returned to action in tonight’s loss to Hertha Berlin.

The long wait is finally over. Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez have officially returned from their agonizingly long injury layoffs. The two central defenders made 20-minute cameos in tonight’s pre-season friendly against Hertha Berlin. It was the first game action the duo have seen since they suffered knee injuries in October and November of last year.

While both players were understandably a bit rusty, it was still a very important step in their recovery journeys, and it was clearly a special moment for both van Dijk and Gomez. Van Dijk took to Twitter after the match to thank everyone who has supported his long recovery for the last nine months.

It will likely still take some time for the pair to regain their match fitness and form, and they will probably not be quite themselves by the time the Premier League season kicks off. However, knowing that they are ready to take the pitch for actual matches again is still a huge boost for the morale of Liverpool’s players and fans alike.