File - Liverpool's defender Virgil van Dijk, Reuters
AFP - Virgil van Dijk gave a timely boost to Liverpool on the eve of their first Premier League match of the season with newly-promoted Norwich City by signing a new long-term contract, the club announced on Friday.
The 30-year-old Dutch international central defender's new deal is reported to tie him to the club till 2025.
Van Dijk's absence due to a knee injury suffered in the Merseyside Derby with Everton last October cost Liverpool dear in their defence of the title last season and also saw him miss Euro 2020.
"Virgil van Dijk has today signed a new long-term contract with Liverpool Football Club," read the club statement.
He is the fourth senior Liverpool player to extend his contract in the last couple of weeks after England defender Trent Alexander-Arnold and Brazilian duo Fabinho and Alisson Becker.
Van Dijk signed from Southampton in 2018 for a reported £75 million ($104 million) and was pivotal in Liverpool winning the 2019 Champions League and the Premier League the following season.
"Amazing. It is something to be very proud of, that I am very proud of, that my wife and my kids are very proud of," he told Liverpool.com.
"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."
The Netherlands captain has made 130 appearances for the club, scoring 13 goals, and has also collected winner's medals in the UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup.
Individually, he was voted the PFA Players' Player of the Year (2018/19), UEFA Men's Player of the Year (2018/19) while he was runner-up in the 2019 Ballon d’Or and The Best FIFA Men’s Player in 2019.
"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," said van Dijk.
“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 said he is raring to go after playing in three friendlies ahead of Saturday's clash against Norwich at Carrow Road.
"I feel good," he said.
"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."