Liverpool defender Virgil Van Dijk has begun light recovery training, giving fans hope that he could return to full fitness earlier than previously expected.
The towering center-back suffered a severe knee injury in the Merseyside derby against Everton in October. After a coming together with Jordan Pickford, it was evident that the player had suffered a serious injury. Scans carried out later that week indicated that he would be sidelined for a long spell.
This led to Liverpool omitting Virgil van Dijk from their Premier League squad and there were genuine fears that he could be ruled out for the rest of the season. The club has considered signing a replacement for the player, with names like Kalidou Koulibaly, David Alaba, and Ben Godfrey all being linked with the Premier League champions.
Liverpool have suffered several other injuries to key first-team players like Trent Alexander-Arnold, Andrew Robertson, Jordan Henderson, Thiago Alcantara, Joe Gomez, and Fabinho in recent weeks. Mo Salah, the team's talisman has also tested positive for COVID-19 virus.
The number of injuries in the Liverpool team has put their title ambitions in jeopardy but they will be buoyed by the news of van Dijk's recovery.
It is still unknown how long the Netherlands international will be in recovery. However, former Liverpool striker and Ballon d'Or winner Michael Owen believes that the 29-year-old could be available during the run-in at the end of the season.
“Of course, the whole squad is very good. But you’ve just got one or two players in any team, I don’t care who you are, that you look to and carry you to certain situations," noted Owen.
“When you’re in the tunnel before the game, you look in front of you and behind you and think, ‘"Right, we’ve got a chance because we’ve got him in our team’. Van Dijk, in particular, is one of them," said the former Liverpool striker.
''He’s a huge miss, but hey, who’s to say he won’t be back for those big games at the end of the season? A cruciate ligament injury is five to six months if everything goes perfectly. So you never know. It’s a huge blow," Owen concluded.
Liverpool will still be in the hunt for defensive reinforcements in January
The absence of two first-choice center-backs in Joe Gomez and Virgil Van Dijk means that Liverpool still have to make signings in January.
Both men are set to be sidelined for several months and youngster Rhys Williams has also complained about a hip issue. Joel Matip is the only other recognized central defender in the squad, while Nat Philipps cannot be relied upon in the long-term.
After the two-week international break, Liverpool will be back in Premier League action when they host table-toppers Leicester City in a marquee top-of-the-table clash. Jurgen Klopp has been boosted by Joel Matip's return to fitness ahead of the fixture.Published 20 Nov 2020, 19:33 IST