LIverpool’s worst fears have been realised after they confirmed the devastating news that Virgil van Dijk has suffered anterior cruciate ligament damage.
Van Dijk sustained the injury following a dreadful challenge from Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford during Saturday’s Merseyside derby.
Though Liverpool would not categorically rule the Holland international out for the rest of the season, it is unlikely he will play again.
Virgil van Dijk requires surgery on his knee after damaging his ACL at Everton on Saturday
The Dutchman was involved in a collision with Jordan Pickford after six minutes of the game
In an Instagram post on Sunday night, the defender said: ‘I’m now fully focussed (sic) on my recovery and will do everything I can to be back as quickly as possible.
‘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 and 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 weeks ahead as I take my own recovery day by day. I’ll be back.’
The defender posted on social media on Sunday night outlining his plan to return to action
The grade three tear that Van Dijk has suffered – which was revealed during a scan on Saturday night – will require surgery to be corrected but Liverpool do not have a date for when the operation will be performed. For that reason, they will not put a timeframe on his recovery programme.
What is clear, though, is that Liverpool will be all the poorer for being without Van Dijk, whose performances since he signed in January 2018 have been a key reason why they have won the Champions League and Premier League in recent seasons.
Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool’s manager, is yet to speak about the blow of losing the 2019 PFA Player of the Year and will only do so on Monday night in the press conference to preview his side’s opening Champions League fixture against Ajax in Amsterdam.
The Everton goalkeeper was not penalised for the challenge despite van Dijk’s injury
There is certainly a deal of anger within Liverpool’s squad about the nature of Pickford’s knee high challenge, as it was so high and late.
The Everton goalkeeper is understood to have attempted to make contact with Van Dijk but has yet to speak to him directly.
Pickford spoke to Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson at Goodison Park immediately after the game to pass on his apologies but whether they have been accepted is another matter and the 26-year-old may yet receive a retrospective FA charge.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp admitted he was not in a good mood following van Dijk’s injury
Players from Liverpool and Everton consoled van Dijk about his injury on social media
Michael Oliver, the match official on Saturday, did not have a clear view of the incident while David Coote – who VAR for the game, which ended 2-2 – chose not recommend that Oliver go to the pitch side monitor for a second look at the challenge.
Liverpool were so incensed by Coote, who also ruled out what would have been an stoppage time winner from Henderson, that they have demanded a full explanation into how he came to the decisions around Pickford and adjudging the Sadio Mane was offside.
Carlo Ancelotti, Everton’s manager, defended Pickford’s erratic performance but speaking on Sky on Saturday Graeme Souness did not hold back when expressing his views on what he thought about the incident.
Jerome Boateng, the Bayern Munich defender, also shared a message for the stricken Van Dijk
Manchester City star Aymeric Laporte insisted rivalry didn’t matter after Van Dijk’s setback
The German boss (right) claimed Liverpool suffered against Everton after van Dijk’s injury
Souness said: ‘It’s outrageous. For me, it’s: wow. These people, who make these decisions, who look at that and talk about offside, I just don’t get it.
‘I’ve been to Stockley Park, it’s nigh on impossible to make a mistake. And they still get it wrong. That was an assault. Not a tackle – an assault.’
Thiago Alcantara, the Liverpool midfielder, also underwent a scan on his knee on Saturday. He was injured following a tackle that led to Richarlison being sent-off but it not serious.