“Onwards and upwards,” declared Joe Gomez after returning to action for Liverpool in Austria on Thursday night.

The defender, along with close friend Virgil van Dijk, was sent on for the final 20 minutes of the Reds’ pre-season friendly meeting with Hertha BSC.

It was a special, milestone moment for Gomez following eight months of rehabilitation from a knee injury that prematurely ended his 2020-21 campaign.

Post-match in Innsbruck, he posted a message of appreciation on social media for the support he received on the road to this evening’s comeback.

“It’s hard to put into words my gratitude at having been able to put on the red shirt again,” wrote Gomez.

“It’s been a period that has severely tested me physically and emotionally. One that I don’t feel I would have come through without the support of those around me.

“A special thanks to the phenomenal surgeon, physios and rehab specialists who’ve guided me through this – each one of them knows how grateful I am.

“Big love to all the LFC family for your support and words of encouragement; that’s staff and fans.

“And most importantly to my wife and family, who are my reason to do it all. I’m thankful. Onwards and upwards.”

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