Liverpool have had a difficult start to 2023. Jurgen Klopp’s side has only won one game so far this year, that too in an FA Cup 4th round replay game against Wolves.
They are struggling to score goals and look a shadow of their former selves that competed on all fronts last season.
Even January signing Cody Gakpo has not been able to bring that spark needed to get the Reds firing on all cylinders. He’s yet to score a goal for them and appears to need more time to get adapted to the intensity of the Premier League.
The biggest problem for Liverpool this season has been injuries. Their squad has caught some kind of an injury bug, with key players getting injured at important points of the season.
Luis Diaz and Diogo Jota have been out for months, while new signing Arthur Melo has been restricted to a single appearance.
But arguably the biggest setback the Reds suffered in January was when defender Virgil van Dijk got injured. He picked up an injury in their 3-1 loss to Brentford earlier this month, sustaining a hamstring issue.
What Klopp said
Jurgen Klopp spoke about his problem after he got injured, saying: “Virgil was a surprise to us. It was a big blow. He didn’t feel a lot. I took him off, it was not clear that maybe he would have tried [to play on].
“The diagnosis was pretty harsh. We talk about weeks, more than a month but I hope it goes quick. I hope it goes quick, we’ll have to see. For now he’s not available, that’s how it is and we have other centre-halves.”
Liverpool have been without their commanding centre-back for the last four games, conceding five goals in them. They’re still missing his leadership skills and composed nature which helps to keep things much less chaotic at the back.
Van Dijk’s injury isn’t that serious to keep him out for the rest of the season, but he will miss all the remaining games in January for Liverpool.
What sources say
As per This Is Anfield, the Dutch defender is likely to be back in February and a potential date for his return could be in the Merseyside Derby against Everton on 13 February.
However, PremierInjuries claims that he is likely to be back in action on 18 February, when the Reds travel to face Newcastle United in the Premier League. He is unlikely to be back in time for Liverpool’s away game against Wolves on 4 February.
The centre-back is yet to rejoin first-team training for Klopp’s side, meaning he is not at all close to returning to action this month.
Because of his past injury scares, Liverpool’s medical team are not going to take risks with rushing his return and risk him reaggravating his issues.
Fortunately for Liverpool, Van Dijk is a really tough individual with a great history of returning strongly from injuries.
After missing the majority of the 2020/21 season due to an injury picked up against Everton, he silenced those doubting his ability in the previous campaign and helped Liverpool win two cup competitions.
The Dutch defender will be gunning to make his return to action in the Merseyside Derby next month, but will probably have to stray clear of Jordan Pickford’s lunges in the opposition box.
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