ENGLISH FOOTBALL

Former Liverpool legend urges Klopp to be careful with Van Dijk

Bertrand Traore

Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher has urged not to rush back Virgil Van Dijk and give him time to get back his full fitness and confidence following a long-term knee injury. 

The Red bought the Netherlands international back in 2018 for £76.5 million from Southampton, making him the most expensive defender in the world at that time. The defender helped the Anfield outfit to lift the Premier League title in 2019 for the first time in 30 years and also in winning the sixth Champions League trophy. 

However, the 30-year-old sustained an anterior cruciate knee ligament injury last season in a collision with Jordan Pickford against Everton which kept him out of action for the rest of the season. Van Dijk made his comeback a couple of days back against Hertha Berlin in a 4-3 defeat in a pre-season friendly and he played for the last 15 minutes. 

Speaking at a Soccer Aid event, Carragher told the PA news agency that Liverpool have to be careful with Van Dijk after coming back from a long term knee injury. It is not possible for the defender to produce straight away from the first game of a new season. 

Carragher alerted Liverpool not to rush back Virgil Van Dijk:

Carragher further added that the 30-year-old will need time to reach his full fitness and a fully fit van Dijk could bring success at Anfield for the next several years. The defender has to start slowly and gradually increase the workload to regain his old form. He should not rush the proceedings. Former defender said: 

“I think we have to be careful and I think Jurgen Klopp will be, “I don’t think we should expect that Virgil Van Dijk comes back into Liverpool and Liverpool are going to automatically win the league again this season. “He’s had a really serious injury and he’s got to make sure he is not rushed back.”

“If he’s back to his best he is the best central defender in world football and that’s what Liverpool will want over the next five or six years, not the next five or six weeks. If he doesn’t make the first game of the season it’s not the end of the world, it is about making sure Virgil Van Dijk is 100 per cent right so he’s in a position where he can have the next five or six years at Liverpool at a top level.”

Watching Virgil Van Dijk playing football is a very happy feeling for the Liverpool fans. However, they should not put hopes on him in this season to replicate his old form. Following a lengthy injury, the defender could take the whole season to find his full fitness and confidence. However, the fans should back their man during these tough times and help him to return to his best as soon as possible. 

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