Virgil van Dijk’s iconic moments for Liverpool, Celtic, Netherlands and more
The £75m defender was a huge miss for the Reds after suffering a serious injury in 2020/21 but now he’s back on the comeback trail and targeting a Premier League return.
Planet Sport looks back on his defining moments of Van Dijk's career which only serve to highlight what a big miss he was last season.
Van Dijk is a deadly set-piece threat thanks to his great heading ability and aerial presence.
And it's only a flurry of Liverpool technical talent that is stopping him standing over the ball himself.
He made a name for himself at Celtic with his free-kick abilities and was a regular taker of dead balls in attacking areas.
In fact, he scored some stunning goals in Green and White, including memorable efforts against Hibernian and Dundee.
The Barcelona coach - who was a top European centre-back himself - was responsible for giving Van Dijk the Netherlands captaincy in 2018, as well as introducing him to English soccer in 2016 as manager of Southampton.
Although a prosperous spell with the south coast club ended on a sour note due to Liverpool's approach, the defender had earned the armband in January 2017.
The flying Dutchman
Van Dijk cost £75million, a record fee at the time for a defender, and the first task for the record-breaker was to keep Liverpool's rivals Everton at arm's length in an FA Cup third round tie at Anfield.
He rose highest in the box in the 84th minute to connect with an Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain corner, nodding the ball past Jordan Pickford at the Kop end to complete a 2-1 win.
Battle in Bavaria
Another of Van Dijk's leaping headers made quite an impact in a massive Champions League last-16 encounter with Bayern Munich in March 2019. But it was his all-round performance and man-of-the-match display that proved decisive in the most important away win of Liverpool's season.
Jurgen Klopp's side pulled off some almighty shocks in the 2018/19 campaign, and a 4-0 victory over Barcelona will always take pride of place in the history books. However, a 3-1 success at Bayern set the tone for a relentless campaign.
The Dutchman rose highest in the second half to head home from a corner and put Liverpool 2-1 up. His goal came after a magnificent ball over the top to find Sadio Mane who swivelled and chipped the ball into the net to complete one of the most aesthetically pleasing goals you are ever likely to see.
Man of the moment in the Madrid
The 2-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur was a fitting end to Liverpool's run to the final, as they were able to enjoy the occasion after leading from the first minute.
Awards and accolades
Pride of the Premier League
However, the following season saw a Manchester City drop-off, while Klopp's Liverpool were relentless in their pursuit of the club's first league title in 30 years.
Van Dijk's contribution was once again integral, scoring five goals and helping keep 15 clean sheets across the season - 10 of which came in a frugal 11-game spell.
What Liverpool wouldn't give for similar stats in 2021/22.