Former England international centre-back Steve Howey has been sharing his thoughts on Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk, the recent injury he sustained against Everton and how the club will cope without him in the team for the foreseeable future.
Speaking exclusively to Football FanCast, the 48-year-old had this to say on van Dijk and how the club can move on without him in the team.
He said: “You’ve got to look for [Joe] Gomez and the likes of [Joel] Matip and people like that to step up to the plate. You’re hearing calls now that possibly Jurgen Klopp might have to go into the transfer market to buy and replace him [Van Dijk]. Not that you can replace Virgil van Dijk, but these are the opportunities, this is what happens in football, this is what happens in life.
“Sometimes somebody’s misfortune is your chance to actually shine and grab your chance, so now it’s up to the likes of Gomez and Matip [to step up].
“It’ll be interesting to see how they cope because not only is Van Dijk a fantastic player, he marshalls that back four very well, he is a captain really so it’ll be interesting to see how they cope without him. I think Matip and Gomez are good players but where would they go really if they get another injury in that position?”
The Dutchman was forced off the pitch in the early stages of Liverpool’s match against Everton after being on the receiving end of a bad tackle from Jordan Pickford, damaging his knee in the process.
Later, the official Liverpool club website revealed that Van Dijk will have to undergo knee surgery and then begin a “rehabilitation programme with the club’s medical team to enable him to reach full fitness as soon as possible.”
Before suffering this injury, Van Dijk was having a pretty underwhelming season for the Reds with WhoScored giving him a season rating of 6.45/10 for his performances in the five Premier League appearances he’s made.
Liverpool’s first game since Van Dijk picked up this injury saw them beat Dutch side Ajax 1-0 away from home in the Champions League.
Although, the club would undoubtedly want the Dutchman back fit and ready for action as soon as possible, this match against Ajax showed that they can perform well defensively and keep a clean sheet without him playing.