Virgil van Dijk will have to wait to make his first Premier League appearance for Liverpool, as the Liverpool Echo reports that manager Jürgen Klopp will choose not to risk his new signing after the defender complained of tightness in his hamstring. Instead, Dejan Lovren is anticipated to make an appearance alongside Joël Matip in the middle of the back four. Cue an extra round of fortifying beverages at pubs across the world.
To say that this is bad timing is a bit of an understatement. This is Liverpool’s first competitive fixture in the wake of Philippe Coutinho’s move to Barcelona, and with unbeaten league leaders Manchester City making a visit to Anfield today, Klopp’s side could really do with making a big statement about how they will cope without the Brazilian midfielder. That task arguably becomes a little bit tougher with Van Dijk’s absence.
With news only now emerging about the defender’s hamstring, it remains to be seen whether the issue is serious enough to preclude Van Dijk from participating in subsequent matches. A trip to Swansea City is next for Liverpool, followed by a 4th Round F.A. Cup matchup against West Bromwich Albion.