Liverpool have suffered the most high profile injury of the Premier League season losing Virgil van Dijk to what looks like a season ending ACL injury courtesy of a seriously reckless Jordan Pickford tackle vs Everton in the Merseyside Derby. Unfortunately, the van Dijk injury is just the tip of the iceberg for the Reds.
So 29 year old Dutch centre-back Virgil is gone for the campaign and is certainly the most serious loss for the Champions as they defend their title and look to challenge on all fronts after strengthening the squad with top quality additions to the squad. The ambitions for this season will not have changed for Liverpool such is the level of their football even though some fans and pundits feel the team will struggle unless they sign additional help at centre-back. It will be interesting to see how Reds fans vote in our latest Liverpool poll asking who should replace van Dijk.
Also injured in the Everton game like van Dijk was new midfield signing Thiago Alcantara. The Spanish technician was the recipient of an ugly red card tackle from the Toffee’s Brazilian forward Richarlson which saw him dismissed for the tackle. Alcantara sustained a knee injury but fortunately could be a game time decision for this week’s home games vs FC Midtjylland in the Champions League followed by an in-form West Ham in the Premier League.
Naby Keita tested positive for the increasingly confusing and often symptomless virus over the international break. If vulnerable people and older members of society were shielded from the disease it is curious why football would not be allowed any spectators in attendance despite the relatively low number of UK hospitalisations and deaths decreasing all the time. One wonders why at least 25% capacity cannot be allowed to attend matches. The NFL have been allowing crowds to return where State guidelines allow without major issues. Surely it is time for clarity around the disease which is yet to hospitalise any of the footballers reported to have had it. Keita was out of contention for the Merseyside Derby after a positive test while apparently symptomless and may have been the unfortunate victim of a false positive. The tests need to be hugely more reliable and return results quicker before relying on them to make decisions which have a wider impact. The good news for fans, the team and the player himself is Keita is now all clear and is available for selection.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is the mega-talent who we have not had nearly enough time to watch in a Liverpool shirt. Fortunately the Ox was an integral part of Liverpool’s recent trophy wins and showed why Jurgen Klopp has had unwavering belief in and support for. The hugely gifted forward suffered an undisclosed injury in pre-season which was suggested would only keep him out briefly however the manager has indicated it is a longer term concern saying it had kept the Reds captain Jordan Henderson out for around two months all told last season. It seems the Ox will be gone a little while but not too long fingers crossed.
Joel Matip played the whole 90 minutes vs Everton but ended up getting a scan after the match having been in some discomfort. While not seriously injured Matip will not be available for the CL visit of FC Midtjylland but could be in contention for the PL West Ham game so that is some more positive news.
Lastly but not least comes new signing left-back Konstantinos Tsimikas who has been out for a few weeks with a thigh problem. The talented new signing may be in contention to make the bench for this weekend vs the Hammers but the CL game could be too soon.
So there is some good news from the injured list with the possible returns of Alcantara and Keita plus Matip and Tsimikas are not too far away but it will be some time before the shock and pain of the Virgil incident really starts to fade – it’s just all too raw at the moment.