Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson believes 2018 will be a “massive year” for Adam Lallana as the England midfielder regains full fitness after his long-term injury.

Lallana made his first start of the season on New Year’s Day at Burnley and was singled out for praise by manager Jurgen Klopp for his 86-minute performance in the 2-1 win at Turf Moor.

The 29-year-old has missed the majority of the season with a thigh injury sustained during the summer and had only made a handful of substitute appearances prior to Burnley.

“It has been hard for him having to sit and watch these opening months of the season,” Henderson told Liverpool’s official website ahead of Friday night’s FA Cup third-round tie against Everton. “He lives and breathes football more than any other person I’ve met.

“But the impressive thing is that not for one second has he felt sorry for himself. He’s been in and around the lads during that time, offering support and advice.

“At a time when he’d have been entitled to be a bit distant, due to missing big games and big moments, he’s been the opposite. He’s been in amongst it and that’s why he’s so important to this club, on and off the pitch.

“His sprint back and tackle at Turf Moor in the opening 20 minutes or so got a massive reaction from the crowd and it summed up what he’s all about.

“I’ve no doubt 2018 is going to be a massive year for him, now this injury setback is dealt with.”

Meanwhile, Virgil van Dijk could make his Liverpool debut in the game against Sam Allardyce’s side following his £75 million move from Southampton.

Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino says he is looking forward to playing in the same side as the Netherlands international and is excited by his commanding presence.

“He’s a really, really good defender. It’s always really hard playing against him. It’s very hard, he marks very tightly and I just think he’s a really, really high-quality player,” Firmino told the club’s official website.

“I think in addition to the fact he’s very physical, it’s his presence. He’s tall, he’s very strong and that’s in addition to his innate ability.

“I just hope he helps us as much as possible. I think like everybody else who comes in, they add something to the group and I hope that he can also do that and bring something to the team himself. I’m really looking forward to playing alongside him, of course.”