The removal of Virgil van Dijk due to a horror-injury inside the first 10 minutes of the 2-2 stalemate with Everton saw a scenario unfold that has been unprecedented for Jurgen Klopp over the previous two Premier League seasons: a back four totally absent of the towering Dutchman’s precence.

Van Dijk was forced to leave the pitch following a cynical challenge from Jordan Pickford which was totally overlooked by the refereeing officials.

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Everton’s English goalkeeper Jordan Pickford (L) tackles Liverpool’s Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk during the English Premier League football match between Everton and Liverpool at Goodison Park in Liverpool, north west England on October 17, 2020. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths / POOL / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo by LAURENCE GRIFFITHS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

The England No.1 connected with Van Dijk at knee height, leaving a talismanic figure for the Premier League champions writhing on the deck.

A Liverpool team without Van Dijk has been an outcome we haven’t had to become accustomed to in recent years given he has started in every PL match for the Reds since January 2018.

Defensively, it was a frustrating game for Liverpool as an outstanding performance was undermined by avoidable goals and questionable officiating from both the referee and those at the VAR headquarters.

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As soon as Van Dijk was withdrawn, Liverpool just didn’t look as commanding defensively. The introduction of Joe Gomez saw Domonic Calvert-Lewin switch sides with the Everton striker fancying himself in an aerial battle with the Englishman.

Van Dijk’s absence also saw Liverpool concede from a corner, a situation that would have been avoided had he still been on the pitch.

Indeed it is presumptive to say that Michael Keane’s goal wouldn’t have stood if the former Southampton defender were still on the field but considering the Reds haven’t conceded from a corner in the league since December 2018 would argue otherwise.

Both Van Dijk and Thiago Alcantara have since been sent to hospital for scans on potential knee injuries ahead of the trip to Amsterdam to face Ajax in the Champions League next week.

It is not good,” Klopp said of Van Dijk’s injury. “Virgil played I don’t know how many games in a row, he plays with pain but he couldn’t play on and that’s not good.”

The Reds will continue to monitor and assess the severity of the respective problems as they count the cost from a dramatic afternoon at Goodison Park but the early signs are indeed worrying.

The Reds manager will provide a further update on Van Dijk when he faces the media on Tuesday evening in Amsterdam although it is safe to presume that he will not be in contention to feature against Ajax.

Everton v Liverpool - Premier League - Virgil van Dijk

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 17: Virgil van Dijk of Liverpool speaks with Jurgen Klopp, Manager of Liverpool as he walks off the pitch after picking up an injury during the Premier League match between Everton and Liverpool at Goodison Park on October 17, 2020 in Liverpool, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Liverpool haven’t had an injury this significant arguably throughout the entirety of Klopp’s five-year reign. It’s the kind of setback that has the potential to totally derail momentum and could oppose serious ramifications in terms of the team’s title credentials.

All we can do at this moment in time is remain hopeful. Until there is concrete evidence in regards to a timeframe or the severity of the injury, it is out of the manager’s hands.

One thing is for certain, however, the events of the 237th Merseyside derby will not be quickly forgotten and not necessarily for the right reasons.

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