Liverpool and Netherlands center-back Virgil van Dijk vows to make a strong return after the diagnosis that he needs knee surgery on the injury he picked against Everton for a 2-each tie. Dijk, 29 sustained the injury and was ruled out of the Liverpool’s squad following a rough tackle by Everton’s keeper Jordan Pickford in the first half of the fixture on Saturday. It is not clear how long the ACL will keep him out of the action.
“I’m ready for the challenge ahead,” he posted on social media. The former Celtic and Southampton defender went to a clinic where a specialist after seeing a scan, confirmed that the Dutchman has sustained a harm on his anterior cruciate ligament.
“I’m now fully focused on my recovery and will do everything I can to be back as soon as possible,” said the Dutchman.
“Despite the obvious disappointment, I’m a firm believer that within difficulty lies opportunity, and with God’s help I’m going to make sure I return better, fitter and stronger than ever before. In football, as in life, I think everything happens for a reason and it’s important to try and keep level-headed whether going through the highs and lows.”
Van Dijk has been instrumental in Liverpool’s victories since becoming part of their roster in Jan 2018; his transfer was worth £75mn. He participated in every league game with The Reds in the past two seasons as Liverpool finished runners-up in 2018-19 season before conquering their maiden top-flight title in 2019-2020 campaign under Jürgen Klopp. The Dutch also proved to be a key player for Anfield outfit in their UCL 2019 triumph and the Club World Cup. Before appearing against Toffees, he had appeared 7 times for the Reds this season.
The outcome of the injury for The Reds
Van Dijk will certainly have massive implications for the Klopp’s team this season according to Chris Sutton who has one EPL title (1994) under his belt with Blackburn.
“He is their rock at the back, their organizer. Simply put, he is irreplaceable. They are going to have to somehow fill that void. He is such a big player for them,” he said. Van Dijk’s who lost his footing in Merseyside derby draw absence will be a big setback to Liverpool’s title defense this season. Joel Matip and Joe Gomez, the second-choice candidates will replace the Dutch as Rhys Williams, Sepp van den Berg and Nathaniel Phillips lack experience.
Matip and Gomez have never shared the pitch featuring as center-backs for Liverpool. The last time the duo played in that position for a part of a game was in the second half of 4-1 loss to Spurs in Oct 2017. Fabinho earlier this season in a change of role was deployed at the center-back position as The Reds recorded a win against Chelsea.
“We won’t know until the end of the season how much impact it will have on the Liverpool squad. There will be a sense of togetherness. It will definitely hinder their defense of the title,” said former Reds’ defender Stephen Warnock in a BBC radio show.
“It’s that old cliche: ‘Let’s win it for Virgil and make sure we have something to celebrate at the end of the season.’
“But when you are in the changing room, you look across and you haven’t got Virgil van Dijk – this big colossus of a player. Defensively when things are going well and you turn back and see Van Dijk, it’s okay. Now you turn back and he’s not there.
“It’s not being disrespectful to the players that are in there but he is their number one center-back – someone who has performed to such a high level since he has come into the football club.”
Apart from Liverpool, the Dutch will be keeping their fingers crossed as the star defender is expected to return before Euro 2020, if he recovers on time. The event is due to take place from June 11, to July 11, 2021.