Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson believes the return of Virgil van Dijk to full fitness makes Liverpool strong contenders to win the title this campaign.
The Reds only just managed to get into the top four last season, after injuries decimated their squad, but Merson claims van Dijk’s presence could make all the difference as Jurgen Klopp’s men look to challenge Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United:
“Liverpool will be a different animal with Virgil Van Dijk back. He gets them pushed up and playing on the halfway line. Last season was a wake-up call for them and they will be massive contenders this time around. I think they will sign players too, and the front three will be fresher. They will have a point to prove.”
From the looks of things, Liverpool may not start the season with van Dijk in the heart of their defence. Klopp has been reluctant to use the Dutchman in pre-season matches so far, as he continues his recovery from an ACL injury.
The medical staff are being extra cautious with the 30-year-old to ensure he doesn’t have any setbacks on his return. Hopefully, even if he does miss the opening game of the campaign against Norwich City, we won’t have to wait long to see him in action again.