In an exclusive interview with Football FanCast, former footballer and current pundit Carlton Palmer has been speaking about Liverpool centre-back Virgil van Dijk.
The Dutch international, who has established himself as one of the best defenders in the world during his time on Merseyside, has missed much of this season through injury.
The former Southampton man damaged his ACL in the Reds’ draw with Everton earlier this season after a horror tackle from Jordan Pickford and has been on the road to recovery since his successful surgery.
Van Dijk has been sharing progress videos on social media and looks to be ahead of schedule, and Palmer has suggested that he could potentially make a return before the end of the season.
Here’s what he had to say about the 29-year-old when speaking exclusively to FFC:
“From what I’m seeing from him, he’s on the bike now and he’s started to jog a bit. If he’s into straight-line running, you would think in the next month to two months (he could be back) – he’s an exceptional athlete and a consummate pro.
“If you look, in the past at Alan Shearer having a cruciate [injury], I think Shearer was back in record time because he looks after himself and keeps himself fit, players like that do recover quicker from injury.
“You say the season at the time was written off for him, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him back maybe at the back end of February, beginning of March. If that’s the case, there’s no need for them to go into the transfer market and pay money for someone they don’t really want.”
If Liverpool could welcome Van Dijk back into their side in the next two months or so, it would certainly mean that thee Reds are less likely to bring in a centre-back this month as Palmer suggests, and with Jurgen Klopp confirming recently that it was unlikely that they would sign anyone, perhaps this is the case.
Considering the serious lack of defensive options in Klopp’s side at the moment, he will no doubt be desperate to welcome back Van Dijk as soon as he is back to full fitness.
Of course, Liverpool are keeping most details of Van Dijk’s recovery to themselves, but Palmer suggests that from his experience in the game, players who are doing the work that the Dutchman is now doing, as we’ve seen on social media, are often back a fee months later.
If that’s the case for Van Dijk, then Liverpool fans should be absolutely delighted.