Liverpool have given an injury update on Virgil van Dijk and it doesn’t sound good. It does, however, justify two summer signings.
Liverpool’s injury update on Virgil van Dijk doesn’t make for good reading. The Dutchman will undergo surgery on his knee, with ‘no specific timescale’ for his return. It sounds, then, like he might be out for some time.
It’s a situation that highlights just how much the Reds rode their luck last season.
Liverpool were thoroughly deserved champions last season – there’s no doubt about that. But Van Dijk’s injury shows just how fragile they really were.
Because this is the Reds’ first major outfield injury in some time. Alisson Becker missed a chunk of last season, of course, but the goalkeeper had obvious cover. There was no need for changing players around.
Subscribe to Rousing The Kop TV now
Van Dijk does have cover, too. Joel Matip and Joe Gomez will be the centre-half pairing going forward but an injury to either asks questions. There is no fourth-choice there, after all, and Fabinho is the obvious option – a defensive midfielder. If he moves back, then someone else needs to cover him and now there’s a considerable change.
That one move makes the team weaker in several areas. If it had happened last year, would Liverpool have won the title? And this is in an area where there is a bit of cover.
If Andy Robertson was injured last season, what then? James Milner at left-back just doesn’t offer the same option down that flank. You can ask the same questions of Trent Alexander-Arnold. Even the front-three, in fact, as Divock Origi hasn’t been up to scratch.
This all explains why Liverpool brought in Diogo Jota and Kostas Tsimikas this summer. Jota, who cost £41m, can cover the front-three, mitigating the damage if any picked up an injury.
Tsimikas, who cost around £11m, offers natural, comfortable cover at left-back. Now if Robertson picks up a knock, Liverpool can at least play the same way.
Alexander-Arnold, too, now has cover in academy graduate Neco Williams. The Welshman is ready to step up when needed – once again mitigating damage should the England right-back be missing.
Liverpool clearly recognised that they got away with one last season and corrected it this summer. Van Dijk’s injury highlights that but the Reds should now have cover for what comes their way this season.