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Virgil van Dijk: Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp refuses to put timescale on defender's return

Jurgen Klopp is refusing to put a timescale on Virgil van Dijk’s return from the serious knee injury suffered in last weekend’s Merseyside derby.

Van Dijk is yet to undergo surgery on the cruciate ligament damage he suffered in a challenge from Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.

The Dutch defender could miss the rest of the season but Klopp would not give an estimated return date during Friday’s press conference.

“I can understand that people are interested in that,” said the Liverpool boss. “Virgil was here, he is okay.

“But when it comes to the surgery and stuff, it doesn’t make sense for us to give a time schedule. We’ll do that at an appropriate time, but he’s as good as possible.

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“We don’t want to know how long he is out for, it will take time for sure. In the end, all people are different so we can’t say for him it’s that long, for him it’s that long.

“It makes sense from a specific moment in the recovery and rehab time.

“Everybody copes differently with it that’s why there is no need for an update.”

Klopp has backed Fabinho to fill in for Van Dijk at the heart of Liverpool’s defence after impressing alongside Joe Gomez at centre-back during Wednesday’s Champions League win against Ajax.

“They’re (Van Dijk and Fabinho) different players but both can defend, that helps obviously,” said Klopp.

“We all know Fab can play this position, he played against Bayern for example in a home game, and was absolutely great.



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“I’m not surprised he can play the position but it’s all about getting used to each other. I don’t think this line played together before the Ajax game.

“There are a lot of things from an organisational point of view. You cannot talk about it or exchange notes about it; it’s just to feel what’s right and wrong, high line or low line, this kind of stuff.

“That’s why I said there is a lot to improve because these boys need to get used to each other.”

Liverpool return to Premier League action on Saturday when they face Sheffield United, live on Sky Sports Box Office.

It means a quick return to Anfield for Rhian Brewster, who joined the Blades from Liverpool in a £23.5m earlier this month.

“We all know him very well and that’s the problem, we know how good he is. That’s the situation,” said Klopp.

“We need to be 100 per cent focused if he starts. But not only him. Sheffield United are doing really well; they had a pretty tough start fixture-wise.

“I’m pretty sure Chris (Wilder) is calm enough to know all the good things they did are still good and they just have to keep them going. That’s what they will try and that makes it really a very intense game.

“It’s Sheffield United; the way they play, if you want to win the game you have to be intense yourself.

“And if Rhian is then on the pitch, we know we should not let him finish at all because wherever he gets the ball he is a natural finisher and that’s his biggest threat.”

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What happens without Virgil? Ajax present Liverpool with first test since Van Dijk’s injury

He had revealed “everyone still has a really bad feeling” about Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford’s reckless, unpunished challenge that the midfielder termed “completely stupid”.

None of Liverpool’s players had managed to sleep on Saturday, still seething from what had happened to Van Dijk, and moreover, how it had happened.

Will that depth of feeling inspire Liverpool to take it out on their upcoming opponents or will it have a detrimental effect?

Klopp bristled at the suggestion of his team mentally capitulating. “Why should I think the boys cannot deal with the situation?” he fired.

“But the number of questions you ask suggests you think we will all struggle with it. So we have to prove you wrong. I am not even interested in proving you wrong. I am only interested in the best for Liverpool and for my players.

“That is what we try now. Hopefully the results in the next few weeks will calm you all slightly down but I cannot promise it.  

“I know how the world is. I know what people do. A lot of people speak before they think. But they speak and then it is already out there.

“We try – sometimes at least – to think before we speak. We have a situation. We are here without Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip! We will still give it a try. What can we do now?

“People can say what they want, it is a free world. But three weeks ago, they said we would run away with the title.

“Now, three weeks later, we are not even in contention for anything anymore.

“That’s football. That’s the world right now. We cannot be that excited. We have to stay calm.”

Liverpool have shown a healthy appetite for performing without key players to defy expectation and convention.  There was that Champions League semi-final against Barcelona at Anfield without Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Naby Keita, with Andy Robertson going off injured and Jordan Henderson playing through a knee injury.

Wijnaldum, though, underlined that “it was for one game. The situation with Virgil is that we are going to miss him for the biggest part of the season. It is quite different if you look it that way.”

That can be extended somewhat to being without Alisson for a spell in 2019-20: it was not ideal, but it was shorter-term pain plus the team could still rely on the best centre-back in the world.

And when Liverpool ceded Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona in January 2018, his exit was eased by the addition of… Van Dijk.

Everything will continue to be framed through the prism of his absence. Each matchday, there will need to be evidence they can manage without him. Each crack will be credited to the lack of his presence.

The directive now is, per Wijnaldum, “for us to show we can put in good performances without Virgil”.

As he said those words, the expression on the Dutchman’s face spoke to what a taxing challenge will be.

It is not aided by the fact that Matip is unavailable and both he and Joe Gomez have regularly battled with injuries.

Wijnaldum said Liverpool would need to “find a fix,” Klopp centered around “thinking about solutions” and it will be interesting to see if that equates to a change in system and approach.

With Alisson still unavailable, the Premier League champions could revert to banking on and building from their offensive firepower.

With the opposition now encouraged to hurt Liverpool defensively, perhaps they will turn the tables starting at the Johan Cruijff ArenA.

What happens without Virgil? We will soon find out.

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Virgil van Dijk releases emotional statement ahead of ACL surgery


Virgil van Dijk has released a statement following the news that he is set to undergo ACL surgery for an injury he suffered in Liverpool’s Merseyside derby draw at Everton on Saturday.

Van Dijk was scythed down by Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford early in the first half of the Premier League fixture at Goodison Park, a challenge for which the Toffees’ shotstopper went unpunished.

Van Dijk was forced off, and Liverpool confirmed on Sunday that the centre-back would require surgery to repair anterior cruciate ligament damage. 

It is anticipated that the Netherlands defender could miss between six and nine months of action as a result.

“This afternoon I met with a leading consultant to start the process of planning the finer details of my rehabilitation following the incident yesterday,” Van Dijk wrote on social media on Sunday.

“I’m now fully focussed 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 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 believe everything happens for a reason and it’s important to try and keep level headed whether going through the highs or the lows.

“With the support of my wife, kids, family and everyone at Liverpool, I’m ready for the challenge ahead.

“I’d like to thank everyone for the messages of support, it’s meant a huge amount to me and my family, and I’ll now be doing everything possible to support my teammates in any way I can ahead of a big few weeks ahead as I take my own recovery day by day. 

“I’ll be back.”

Club sources are reluctant to rule out a return to action this season for the 29-year-old, who had played every minute of the 74 league games prior to being forced off the pitch on Saturday, a spell stretching back to his substitution in the 3-0 home win over Southampton in September 2018.

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Virgil van Dijk out for at least five months with ACL tear

Virgil van Dijk is expected to miss the majority of the season after results confirmed he had suffered an Anterior Cruciate Ligament tear.

The Dutchman was unable to continue in his side’s draw against Everton on Saturday after a nasty challenge from goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.

Van Dijk was able to walk off the pitch but the swelling quickly increased and he left Goodison Park on crutches, with the club doctor fearing the worst.

Scan results have now shown the worst case scenario in that the former Celtic man has suffered an ACL tear.

Van Dijk will undergo surgery and the minimum he can be expected to be out is five months – which would be the best case scenario.

In a brief statement, Liverpool refused to put a timeframe on Van Dijk’s injury.

‘Liverpool FC can confirm Virgil van Dijk will undergo surgery on the knee injury he sustained during Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Everton,’ a statement read.

‘The centre-back damaged knee ligaments following an incident involving Blues goalkeeper Jordan Pickford after six minutes at Goodison Park.

‘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.

‘Following surgery, Van Dijk will begin a rehabilitation programme with the club’s medical team to enable him to reach full fitness as soon as possible.’

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Liverpool star Virgil van Dijk forced off with injury after brutal Jordan Pickford tackle

Virgil van Dijk was forced off injured early for Liverpool in the Merseyside derby with Everton after a collision with Jordan Pickford. That was after the Reds took an early lead thanks to Sadio Mane who hammered home from close range.

It looked like a penalty could be awarded to the Reds as VAR looked at the incident but Van Dijk was offside before Pickford’s tackle.

Joe Gomez replaced the Holland international and Everton drew level shortly afterwards thanks to a Michael Keane header from a corner.

Van Dijk hobbled off and to the make-shift Liverpool dressing room at Goodison Park looking downbeat.

The Reds will now wait to see the extent of the damage and whether the central defender will miss any further matches.

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