Virgil van Dijk will embark on a knee ligament injury which could keep him out of the Liverpool squad for a very long time if not for the rest of the 2020-2021 season. The 29-year-old Netherlands defender sustained the injury in the early minutes of the Everton vs Liverpool match which ended 2-2.
The goalkeeper of Everton, Jordan Pickford committed a harsh challenge on Van Dijk within the first 6 minutes of the match. Fortunately for Pickford, the center-referee overlooked the challenge. When the Video Assistant Referee was brought in to review what transpired in Everton‘s eighteen-yard box, the VAR ruled that Virgil van Dijk was offside and said nothing about the tackle on the defender.
The Liverpool first choice center-back had to leave the match because he could not endure the pain he felt after Pickford’s challenge. He was replaced by Joe Gomez.
After the match, it was made known that Virgil van Dijk has been taken to the hospital for further examination to ascertain the degree of the injury. After the part of the knee where he sustained the injury was scanned, it was discovered that the reigning world best footballer and PFA player of the year has a knee ligament injury that needs surgery to correct.
As of the time of publishing this report, the date and where the surgery will be carried out has not been fixed. Liverpool has not also specified how long the club will be without their defensive talisman.
Nevertheless, when a player with the weight of Virgil van Dijk sustained a knee ligament injury and the knee is operated upon, that could keep him out of football for at least 6 months. This could be longer if his rehabilitation period lasts for too long.
Based on this, Liverpool’s manager Jurgen Klopp might be without his most reliable defender for the rest of the season which might make their title defense a bit more difficult.
Since the 29-year-old Netherlands international joined the club in 2018 for a transfer fee worth £75 million, he has been unstoppable and has never missed any Liverpool’s Premier League match. He was instrumental in Liverpool’s Champions League win in 2019, Fifa World Club Cup win in the same year, and Premier League win in 2020.
Now, Klopp will have to depend on
Joe Gomez and Joel Matip as his two center-backs for as long as Virgil van Dijk stays injured. The last time Liverpool used such a defensive partnership was in the second half of the Liverpool vs Tottenham match in October 2017. The match ended 4-1 in favor of Tottenham.
Besides players like Nathaniel Phillips, Rhys Williams, and Sepp van den Berg who are still cutting their teeth when it comes to defending, Klopp has an option to continue using his midfielder, Fabinho, as a center-back since he successfully did that in their 2-0 win over Chelsea earlier in the season.