Liverpool face up to long season without van Dijk

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Liverpool face up to long season without van Dijk

Monday, October 19, 2020

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London, United Kingdom (AFP) — Liverpool's Premier League title defence was rocked yesterday when the club confirmed key defender Virgil van Dijk has suffered knee ligament damage amid reports the Dutchman could miss the rest of the season.

Van Dijk, who will require surgery, hobbled off after a shocking challenge from Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford in a 2-2 draw in the Merseyside derby on Saturday.

“The centre-back damaged knee ligaments following an incident involving Blues goalkeeper Jordan Pickford after six minutes at Goodison Park,” Liverpool said in a statement.

“Van Dijk was required to be substituted and further assessment on the injury has revealed an operation will be needed.

“No specific timescale is being placed upon his return to action at this stage.”

It will at the very least be months before Liverpool's talismanic presence at the back returns, leaving Jurgen Klopp with a major problem to solve to keep the Reds' season on track.

The Netherlands captain is also at risk of missing the delayed Euro 2020 next June.

Van Dijk struck an upbeat note in a statement released on social media, saying: “I'm now fully focused on my recovery and will do everything I can to be back as quickly as possible.

“Despite the obvious disappointment, I'm a firm believer that within difficulty lies opportunity,” he continued, adding: “I'm going to make sure I return better, fitter and stronger than ever before.”

Liverpool's top scorer Mohamed Salah tweeted: “I wish you a speedy recovery big man.”

Van Dijk has been pivotal to Liverpool's resurgence since making a then world-record, 75 million (US$97 million) move for a defender from Southampton in January 2018.

The 29-year-old has started the last 94 league games to bring a defensive solidity that was lacking during Klopp's first two years at Anfield.

Since then Liverpool won the Champions League in 2019 and ended a 30-year wait to win the Premier League earlier this year.

“You look at it now and think, can Liverpool win the league without Van Dijk there?” former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher told Sky Sports.

“Every team that has aspirations of winning the league has three or four players that if one of those players is missing, no matter how good your manager is, how big your squad is, you can't cover for them. They are that outstanding.”

With the summer transfer window only just closed, Klopp will have to wait until January to bolster his now threadbare options at centre-back.


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