Liverpool defender Virgil Van Dijk signs new four-year deal

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Liverpool defender Virgil Van Dijk has signed a new four-year deal, the club announced on Friday.

The Netherlands international is set to make his return to first-team action after almost a year out with a knee injury when Liverpool kick-off their 2021-22 Premier League campaign against Norwich City on Saturday.

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"It is something to be very proud of, that I am very proud of, that my wife and my kids are very proud of," Van Dijk said in a statement.

"All the hard work we've put in so far continues and I am looking forward to what the future brings together with Liverpool. I'm delighted, very happy and proud.

"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 altogether with all of you."

Van Dijk is the latest Liverpool player to sign a new long-term extension, with goalkeeper Alisson Becker, defender Trent Alexander-Arnold and midfielder Fabinho all inking new deals in the past month.

The defender has not played a competitive game since he tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) against Merseyside rivals Everton last October. However, he has played a prominent role in Liverpool's preseason build-up.

"I feel good," Van Dijk added. "Obviously [they were] friendlies, you get your match fitness up, get into repetitions of doing things again and again.

"I feel like I am ready for the weekend, so we'll see what the manager decides. It is going to be a totally different atmosphere and mindset for me personally as well. It is something we fight for, for the points, and hopefully we can get a positive result out of it."

Van Dijk has made 130 appearances for Liverpool since he joined in 2017, and was a crucial part of the side that ended the club's 30-year wait for a Premier League title in 2020.

He also won the Champions League title in 2019 in the same season that he was voted PFA Player of the Year and UEFA Defender of the Season.