Van Dijk injury causes concern for frustrated Liverpool

LIVERPOOL (AP) – Virgil van Dijk has been a commanding — even transcendent — presence at the heart of Liverpool’s defence throughout the team’s rise to the top of English and European football in recent years.

In a major concern for the Premier League champions, they might have to learn how to cope without their warrior at the back for quite some time.

In what proved to be a painful Merseyside derby for Liverpool, Van Dijk was the subject of a reckless lunge by Jordan Pickford that saw the Everton goalkeeper clatter into the extended right leg of the Netherlands defender.

Van Dijk roared in agony and, tellingly, stayed down. And that was when Jürgen Klopp knew it was serious.

“Virgil played I don’t know how many games in a row, he plays with pain, but he couldn’t play on and that’s not good,” Klopp said after the 2-2 draw at Goodison Park.

Indeed, the 2018-2019 England’s Player of the Year, who had played every minute of Liverpool’s previous 74 league games, immediately came off after lengthy treatment and hobbled gingerly around the field to the locker room.

There was no official word from Liverpool on the potential length of his absence, but Van Dijk reportedly left hospital on crutches in the evening. Broadcaster beIN Sports said it has received information that the player has damaged his anterior cruciate ligament.

With the draw, Liverpool extended their 10-year unbeaten record against Everton but Klopp was a frustrated man as he made the short trip home from Goodison.