Reports suggest that Virgil Van Dijk has started light recovery training. The star center-back was believed to be out of action for the rest of the 2020-21 season following his ACL injury picked up during the Merseyside Derby. He underwent surgery, and has now begun rehabilitation with a specialist. This will be the first phase of his recovery. However, while this is a sign of progress, there is no guarantee that he will return to the pitch before the end of the season, much as we would like to believe so.
There were measured glimpses of optimism from former Liverpool player-turned-pundit Michael Owen as well. Speaking to talkSPORT he said, referring to Van Dijk, “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 sort of five to six months if everything goes perfectly. So you never know. It’s a huge blow.”
Elsewhere in the center-back universe, Joe Gomez is also sidelined with no known date of return after his own surgery. With Joel Matip as the only senior center-back available (and he too can be injury-prone), many have suggested that Liverpool should be active during the January transfer window, with a new high-profile defender linked to the club every week (including a few truly ridiculous rumours). Progress or not, it is unlikely that Virgil can contribute to any of Liverpool’s campaigns meaningfully this season, though I would like to be proved wrong.