Liverpool has confirmed that Van Dijk will undergo surgery for a knee ligament injury after he fell victim to a horror challenge from Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford in Saturday’s Merseyside Derby draw in Goodison.
If Virgil van Dijk needs any inspiration at the beginning of his recovery from a devastating knee injury, he won’t have to look very far.
Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk will not have to look far for inspiration when he recovers from an ACL ligament injury.
Van Dijk has forged a strong bond with Joe Gomez, both in terms of the central defender pairing on the field and the friendship off the field.
While club sources are reluctant to rule out a return to the game, it is clear that the Dutchman faces a long and hard rehabilitation after having started every Premier League for Liverpool since January 2018.
Four days after Jurgen Klopp was introduced as the new head of the Reds, the defender suffered the damage while playing against Kazakhstan in England under 21.
And this relationship can help the 29-year-old on his way back to full fitness.
Gomez, of course, has been here before, having suffered a similar anterior cruciate ligament injury just months after moving to Liverpool in the summer of 2015.
Former Liverpool striker Danny Ings suffered an ACL injury on the same day as Gomez’s setback during a training session at Melwood, but was back in action within seven months.
After nine months on the sidelines, Gomez was about to return to full training when he suffered another collapse and was diagnosed with tendinopathy in his Achilles tendon. It would eventually take 15 months before he would play again.
And while a second such problem kept him away for another 11 months, he has since more than proven his fitness as a regular scorer after moving to Southampton.
The Dutchman’s mental strength and physical determination has been evident on the pitch for a long time, but such an injury presents a different challenge and is his most difficult as a professional since 2012, when his classification in Groningen revealed that a ruptured appendix had caused appendicitis, peritonitis and a kidney infection.
Van Dijk can also be happy about the recovery of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain after almost a year with a cruciate ligament. But with Gomez he forged the strongest bond.
*Who was your Liverpool MOTM in the Derby? Speak your mind here.
But now the roles are reversed. Van Dijk’s comeback has begun – and Gomez can help.
Van Dijk is the player Gomez has looked up to since the Dutchman arrived in Anfield almost three years ago.