It was a special day for Dirk Kuyt. Two hours after landing on Dutch soil, the striker found himself back at De Kuip, for a marathon handshaking session. ‘I’m still in contact with a lot of people at the club. Feyenoord is deep within me; I still follow the club closely. I’m delighted to be back here at De Kuip.’

Kuyt was attending the presentation of the Port of Rotterdam Tournament, which kicks off Friday. After the formalities the player took to the training pitch for a short session with physio Marcel de Geus, taking plenty of time to meet the small group of fans that watched his every move.

Back inside the stadium he bumped into Roy Makaay. The former striker spoke with the current striker about the situation at the club. ‘There is always a lot of pressure on the striker at Feyenoord,’ explained Kuyt. ‘But I think Roy can fill that position brilliantly. He’s proven his quality in several European leagues.

‘The current developments at the club are very positive. After last season something had to happen. With the transfers something has. Players like Van Bronckhorst and Makaay can make the difference. Every player in Europe knows them, which gives Feyenoord European allure.’

Kuyt was delighted to be back at the club he cares so much about, but he’s most looking forward to playing against Feyenoord on Sunday. ‘I want to show the fans that I’ve become a better player during my year in England. I’m playing in the best league in Europe, against the best defenders. That’s important if you want to become a better player.’

The Merseysiders have bought in a lot of top players in the close season, including Fernando Torres, Andriy Voronin and Ryan Babel and the feeling is that Liverpool have to be serious title challengers this year, something Kuyt agrees with. ‘We owe it to ourselves to challenge for the title, but it won’t be easy. The English league is a lot tougher than the Dutch league. But that’s clearly our aim.’

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