Virgil van Dijk is determined to become “the best player he can be” as he continues his rehab following a season-ending knee injury.
The Liverpool centre-half was regarded by many as the best defender in the world before his setback.
His absence has been telling with the Reds unable to mount a meaningful defence on their Premier League title.
Van Dijk, who is eyeing a place in the Netherlands squad at this summer’s Euros, insists his time away has allowed him to reflect on things.
But as he edges towards a return, reaching the extremely high levels he was producing prior to his injury is a priority.
“In this period of being injured, it makes you think about loads of stuff, and appreciate even more what you’ve got,” Van Dijk told JBL.
“Obviously, it’s not easy, but the most important thing for me is to stay true to myself and work as hard as I can.
“So, if the time comes back and I’ll be back playing again, then I just have to enjoy every bit of it and try to be the best player I can be.
“I won’t take anything for granted. I just work, enjoy, have a smile on my face and try to stay fit.”
The 29-year-old has been regularly pictured at the Liverpool training ground as he continues to step up his rehab.
Van Dijk has been doing so alongside Joe Gomez, who also picked up an injury back in November.
The Englishman has been rehabbing his left knee having also required surgery to repair a damaged tendon.
Jurgen Klopp’s defensive woes were then worsened at the turn of the year when Joel Matip was ruled out.
The Liverpool boss has been forced to seek makeshift solutions for much of the year with Jordan Henderson and Fabinho both filling in.
Youngsters Rhys Williams and Nat Phillips have both been promoted while Ozan Kabak was signed in the January transfer window.