Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk has admitted that he “could have shed a tear” when Jurgen Klopp hugged him as he returned from his serious injury.
Van Dijk joined Liverpool in 2018 from their Premier League rivals Southampton for a fee in the region of £75m.
For the Reds, he has established himself as one of the best defenders in world football.
He won the PFA Players’ Player of the Year award in 2018/19 and in recent years he has helped Liverpool win the Champions League and Premier League.
Last October, Van Dijk suffered a serious ACL injury from a challenge with Everton’s Jordan Pickford.
The Dutchman was out for nine months before he made his return in July ahead of the 2021/22 campaign.
“I remember the moment when we were ready to come on and the manager came up to me and gave me a hug.
“I could’ve shed a tear there, that was how emotional I was. It was the relief thing, you work so hard for this moment.
“It was a special day for me, my family and the people who work with me.”
“They (Liverpool) were satisfied then (last summer). And hopefully, even more after this year.
“Actually, the plan was to participate in the preparation with the first team of Liverpool this season, but I thought it was best to be rented out for another year.
“I quickly noticed what big steps you can take in six months of Championship. So I thought: if I play there for another year, I really have a chance at Liverpool.
“He (Van Dijk) asked me how I thought it went at Preston and told me that he thought it was a good choice because making minutes is so important.
“Who knows, I may be next to him next season. You should always keep dreaming.”