Jurgen Klopp has promised that Liverpool will support Virgil van Dijk “like a good wife is waiting when the husband is in jail”. Van Dijk has been arguably the most influential member of Liverpool’s squad since joining the club for a fee of £75 million ($97m) from Southampton in January 2018.
He shored up a leaky defense which had previously undermined the Reds’ attacking efforts under Klopp, and inspired their run to Champions League glory in his first full season at the club.
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The 29-year-old also featured in all 38 of Liverpool’s Premier League matches in 2019-20 as they won the title for the first time in 30 years, and is now revered as the best center-back on the planet by many fans and experts.
Van Dijk was also playing a starring role in Klopp’s line up at the start of their latest campaign, but he is now facing a lengthy period on the sidelines after suffering a cruciate knee ligament injury.
The Netherlands international had to be substituted in the first half of the 2-2 draw with Everton after being floored by a late Jordan Pickford tackle and will undergo surgery on his knee before beginning an extensive rehabilitation program.
Klopp says the prized asset is feeling “okay” after the incident, and that he will receive all the help he needs from Liverpool’s staff throughout his recovery period in the coming months.
“It’s always the same, players love to be rather on their own in the moment and to deal in the first moment with it,” the German head coach told a press conference on Monday. “I am long enough in the business to know that. I have injured myself, I had exactly the same injury if I’m right and it’s not then that you are then pretty chatty.
“It all will start but we are in contact, of course, we are in contact. We are there for him, he knows that and we will wait for him like a good wife is waiting when the husband is in jail and will do, meanwhile, all that we can do to make it as easy for him as possible.”
“A few things are clear, so he now will be out for a while, that’s clear. We don’t want to set any timeframe, to be honest, because each player is different and each individual is different and these possible timeframes are always for the x, y, z player. Virgil is Virgil and we don’t want to set any timeframe, but he will be out for a pretty long time and that’s what the situation is.
“That’s what we know since I expected it pretty much on Saturday after the game immediately, especially when I saw the challenge back. I saw it the first time only from the bench, and when I saw it back I was pretty clear that he will be out for a long time.
“So we feel now in this moment extremely, extremely for him because most of us were in a similar situation and we know that these situations are absolutely rubbish. You don’t need it. You don’t need it but you have to get over it and Virgil will get over it, 100 percent, and today is already the first day, if you want, of the recovery.
“We go already in the right direction and so that’s OK and the rest is football and life, like always a challenge, so see what you get and then make the best of it and that’s what we do now.”