Liverpool centre back Virgil van Dijk said he was excited to return from his "mentally tough" injury layoff as the Netherlands international played Premier League football after nearly 10 months in Saturday's 3-0 win at promoted Norwich City.
Liverpool eased into the new Premier League season as goals by Diogo Jota, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah earned them a comfortable victory.
The Merseyside club enjoyed a relatively trouble-free evening at Carrow Road with defensive linchpin Van Dijk making his first top-flight appearance after picking up a serious knee injury in last season's Merseyside derby in October.
Van Dijk played just five league games last season before his injury and Liverpool felt his absence as they were unable to defend their league title, finishing in third place.
"Mentally it's tough," Van Dijk told Sky Sports. "One day you're fully fit, the next you're full of medication and in pain.
"We had more injuries in key positions (last season) so couldn't play our game, the way we want to play, with high pressure.
"To be back out there helping the boys, I hope to continue that. I need games - the manager knows it, I know it. It's a good start. Now we have time to recover for next week," the BBC quoted the Dutchman as saying.
Liverpool host Burnley on Aug. 21.
(Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru; Editing by William Mallard)