Virgil van Dijk’s recovery timeline after suffering a serious anterior cruciate ligament injury on Saturday afternis unclear beyond that it will be a while before we see the world’s best centre half playing football again and that surgery will be required.
The most optimistic projections would see Van Dijk able to begin individual training again in around six months. Less optimistically, it could take a full year before he’s at that point. In either case, a return to action this season is nearly unimaginable.
“He now will be out for a while, that’s clear,” said manager Jürgen Klopp. “We don’t want to set any timeframe because each player is different and each individual is different but he will be out for a pretty long time and that’s what the situation is.
“That’s what we know. I expected it pretty much on Saturday after the game immediately when I saw the challenge back. I saw it the first time only from the bench, and when I saw it back I was pretty clear that he will be out for a long time.”
That leaves Klopp and the club with the challenge of not just making do without Van Dijk, but making do with just two senior centre halves after the club decided that it would not be necessary to replace the departed Dejan Lovren over the summer.
Choosing to go into the season with just Van Dijk, Joël Matip, and Joe Gomez raised questions at the time due to the latter two having significant injury histories—though at the time nobody imagined the sturdy Van Dijik missing significant time.
For now, though, and at least for public consumption, Klopp is keeping the focus on his concern over Van Dijk’s health, saying that the club will be patient and seek to do anything it can to support him in his recovery efforts, however long it takes.
“We feel now in this moment extremely, extremely for him because most of us were in a similar situation and we know that these situations are absolutely rubbish,” the Liverpool manager added. “You have to get over it and Virgil will get over it.
“Today is already the first day, if you want, of the recovery. We go already in the right direction and so that’s okay and the rest is football and life, like always a challenge, so see what you get and then make the best of it and that’s what we do now.
“But we are in contact, of course. We are there for him, he knows that and we will wait for him like a good wife is waiting when the husband is in jail and will do, meanwhile, all what we can do to make it as easy for him as possible.”