Liverpool have been dealt a massive injury blow with the news that star defender Virgil van Dijk will be out of action for months.
Scans have confirmed that the 29-year-old centre-back sustained serious knee ligament damage in Saturday’s Merseyside derby against Everton following a reckless challenge by Jordan Pickford.
The club have confirmed that the Netherlands international requires surgery and due to the nature of the injury, there are fears that he may not be involved again this season. Anfield officials, however, have refused to rule out the possibility of him returning to action before the end of the season, but it is almost certain that he won’t see much of it.
Joe Gomez, who replaced Van Dijk during the match, is now likely to partner Joel Matip in the heart of Liverpool’s defence. Midfielder Fabinho can also be deployed as a centre-back and Klopp could also call upon the likes of highly-rated 17-year-old Billy Koumetio. Rhys Williams, Sepp van den Berg and Nat Phillips are other options.
A statement issued by the club reads: ‘Liverpool FC can confirm Virgil van Dijk will undergo surgery on the knee injury he sustained during Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Everton.
‘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.’
Liverpool were linked with a number of centre-backs during the summer but opted not to spend.