The Dutchman was brought on with 69 minutes on the clock, his first appearance for the Reds since injuring his knee in October last year.
"285 days ago, I started on a journey back towards playing," Van Dijk wrote on Twitter after the 4-3 loss.
"It's hard to express how I am feeling, but it's important to me that I say I feel blessed to have had the support of so many incredible people.
"The surgeon, my physios, coaches and staff who have been with me in my corner since day one. My teammates for giving me energy and keeping my head up. The fans for their love, support and encouragement.
"And most of all, my family because without them, I'd be nothing. Thank you.
"The work doesn't stop now. It's only just starting. We keep going!"
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