Liverpool have confirmed Vigil van Dijk will have surgery on a knee injury that will sideline him for months.
The Dutch defender spent time with a specialist on Sunday, reviewing scans and deciding on a plan of treatment, for what is understood to be a grade three tear of his anterior cruciate ligament.
That is the worst level, with the ligament torn in half, and the surgery is designed to restructure the ligament.
The average timescale of recovery from such an injury can can be from six to 12 months, but Liverpool are reluctant to put a time-frame on his return.
The club’s doctors will schedule surgery next week, and only after van Dijk has that, will his specialist be able to give a serious estimate of the time the defender must be on the sidelines.
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Club sources stressed it would be wrong to rule out a return to action this season for the resilient Dutchman, because any return date will be dependant on the success of his rehab.
Medics at Anfield point to the player’s exceptional attitude, and his strong fitness record and attitude, which are all significant factors in reducing lay off time.
But it is clear he will not play again until next year, and there is no suggestion from the club at this stage of a real confidence he can play again this season.
The club confirmed van Dijk will undergo surgery in the near future, and boss Jurgen Klopp admitted after the derby draw at Everton it was a real blow to the club.
“It is not good with Virgil, but we will show the response we have shown in all situations,” he said.
Klopp at least has Joel Matip back after missing most of the past six months, and Joe Gomez impressed when replacing van Dijlk at Everton, but he now only has two fit recognised senior centre halves, after selling Dejan Lovren in the summer, though Fabinho has also been used in that position.
It was a bad day for Liverpool, who have reacted with anger after the Premier League gave them what has been described as a ‘confused and contradictory’ response to their questions about the use of VAR on Saturday.
Klopp was angry at the challenge by Jordan Pickford which has put van Dijk out for months, which most refereeing experts have suggested should have resulted in a red card for the Everton keeper.
He was also perplexed by the use of VAR to rule out a late Jordan Henderson winner for offside, when the images seemed to clearly show Sadio Mane was level when he crossed the ball. Liverpool have stressed they respect the integrity of the officials, but will ask the Premier League again for more transparency around how the outcomes of VAR judgements were determined.
Should Jordan Pickford have been sent off in the derby? Have your say here.
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