Liverpool will need to carefully manage centre back Virgil van Dijk’s playing time following the Netherlands international’s return from a lengthy injury layoff, midfielder James Milner said.
A serious knee injury kept Van Dijk sidelined for most of last season and this year’s European Championship, from which the Netherlands were eliminated in the last-16 by the Czech Republic.
Liverpool’s defensive linchpin Van Dijk was rested for their 3-2 Champions League win over AC Milan, but the 30-year-old returned for Saturday’s 3-0 Premier League win against Crystal Palace at Anfield.
“We all think Virg is Superman and he is, 99 times out of 100,” said Milner. “But the injury that he has come back from – and to look as good as he has done since he has come back – you know, he’s not 21.
“He needs looking after as well, no matter how angry he gets at being left out of the team. He is going to need looking after and that is rotation.
“I think it (rotation) is obviously important. The positions we got into last year, we were unlucky with injuries and players having to play out of position. I think it is to help with things like that.”
Liverpool were hit with a string of injuries to key players last season as they finished third, failing to defend their Premier League title.
The Merseyside club, who are joint top of the Premier League this season with Chelsea, next travel to Norwich City on Tuesday for the League Cup third round.