According to former England international Carlton Palmer, the injured Virgil van Dijk could return to action for Liverpool before the end of the season. The centre-back is said to be showing impressive progress during his rehabilitation process.
Virgil van Dijk joined Liverpool in January 2018 for £75 million, a world-record transfer fee for a defender at the time.
The Dutchman was named PFA Players' Player of the Year and Premier League Player of the Season in his first full season at the club. He later won the UEFA Champions League, the FIFA Club World Cup and the UEFA Super Cup before helping the Reds end their 30-year league title drought by winning the 2019–20 Premier League.
Virgil van Dijk has been out of action for Liverpool since suffering an anterior cruciate ligament injury in the Merseyside derby against Everton in October last year.
The 29-year-old was initially expected to be out for the remainder of the season, with his defensive partner Joe Gomez also facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines after picking up a long-term injury while away on international duty with England.
Liverpool's injury crisis in defence has seen the club being linked to a host of centre-backs in recent months.
However, Carlton Palmer believes that Virgil van Dijk could beat expectations and return in the next couple of months. He told Football Fancast:
"From what I'm seeing from him, he's on the bike now and he's started to jog a bit. If he's into straihgt-line running, you would think the next month to two months (he could be back), he's an exceptional athlete and a consummate pro."
Carlton Palmer believes Liverpool don't need to sign a new defender if Virgil van Dijk returns before the end of the season
Carlton Palmer also believes that Liverpool don't need to spend money on a new defender in January if Virgil van Dijk returns before the end of the season. He said:
"You say the season at the time was written off for him, I wouldn't be surprised to see him back maybe at the back end of February, beginning of March. If that's the case, there's no need for them to go into the transfer market and pay money for someone they don't really want."
In the absence of their key defenders, Liverpool have had to field the likes of Fabinho and Jordan Henderson at the centre-back positions in recent weeks.
Despite the midfielders performing well in their new roles, the situation is not ideal for Jurgen Klopp, who must prioritise signing a centre-back in January.Published 11 Jan 2021, 14:20 IST