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Soccer

Virgil van Dijk injury update as Liverpool defender faces ACL surgery

Liverpool have confirmed Vigil van Dijk will have surgery on a knee injury that will sideline him for months.

The Dutch defender spent time with a specialist on Sunday, reviewing scans and deciding on a plan of treatment, for what is understood to be a grade three tear of his anterior cruciate ligament.

That is the worst level, with the ligament torn in half, and the surgery is designed to restructure the ligament.

The average timescale of recovery from such an injury can can be from six to 12 months, but Liverpool are reluctant to put a time-frame on his return.

The club’s doctors will schedule surgery next week, and only after van Dijk has that, will his specialist be able to give a serious estimate of the time the defender must be on the sidelines.

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Club sources stressed it would be wrong to rule out a return to action this season for the resilient Dutchman, because any return date will be dependant on the success of his rehab.

Medics at Anfield point to the player’s exceptional attitude, and his strong fitness record and attitude, which are all significant factors in reducing lay off time.

But it is clear he will not play again until next year, and there is no suggestion from the club at this stage of a real confidence he can play again this season.

The club confirmed van Dijk will undergo surgery in the near future, and boss Jurgen Klopp admitted after the derby draw at Everton it was a real blow to the club.

"It is not good with Virgil, but we will show the response we have shown in all situations,” he said.

Klopp at least has Joel Matip back after missing most of the past six months, and Joe Gomez impressed when replacing van Dijlk at Everton, but he now only has two fit recognised senior centre halves, after selling Dejan Lovren in the summer, though Fabinho has also been used in that position.

It was a bad day for Liverpool, who have reacted with anger after the Premier League gave them what has been described as a ‘confused and contradictory’ response to their questions about the use of VAR on Saturday.

Klopp was angry at the challenge by Jordan Pickford which has put van Dijk out for months, which most refereeing experts have suggested should have resulted in a red card for the Everton keeper.

He was also perplexed by the use of VAR to rule out a late Jordan Henderson winner for offside, when the images seemed to clearly show Sadio Mane was level when he crossed the ball. Liverpool have stressed they respect the integrity of the officials, but will ask the Premier League again for more transparency around how the outcomes of VAR judgements were determined.

Should Jordan Pickford have been sent off in the derby? Have your say here.

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Soccer

Robertson lifts lid on Liverpool dressing room reaction to Van Dijk injury

The Liverpool dressing room labelled Jordan Pickford's horror tackle on Virgil van Dijk "shocking" during the half-time break.

That's according to Andy Robertson, who admits he never saw the challenge personally, but was left in no doubt of its severity after speaking with his team-mates.

Van Dijk was clattered by Pickford just 10 minutes into the Merseyside derby on Saturday as he competed for a ball in the Everton box.

The Toffees shot-stopper dropped Van Dijk with a thigh-high challenge and was lucky to avoid being sent off following a VAR check.

Van Dijk attempted to play on but was forced to make way moments later, and was replaced by England international Joe Gomez.

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Robertson described the Liverpool dressing room atmosphere at half time, saying: "I never saw it [the challenge]. But the lads at half-time said it was a shocking challenge, so that's two they've done us with."

Van Dijk was taken to hospital following the match to receive treatment on his knee.

He is going for a scan this Sunday to determine how serious the injury is and weather it has the potential to rule him out for the season.

Jurgen Klopp is also still in the dark over the centre-back's injury.

But the German was fearing the worst following the Merseyside derby, which finished 2-2.

"It's not good. Virgil plays with pain but he couldn't play on. Not good," said Klopp. He added: "Pickford kicks him completely. I need to watch it back.

"I've seen the disallowed goal at the end and in the picture I saw it wasn't offside. Can someone explain that to me?"

Should Jordan Pickford have been sent off in the derby? Have your say here.

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