Liverpool head coach Jurgen Klopp has vowed that the Reds will support Virgil van Dijk “like a good wife is waiting when the husband is in jail”.
Van Dijk can be said to be the most instrumental member of Liverpool’s squad since transferring to the club for a fee of £75 million ($97m) from Southampton in January 2018.
He tightened the leaky defence which had previously undermined the Reds’ attacking efforts under Klopp, and inspired their run to Champions League glory in his first full season at the club.
The Netherlands international also appeared in all 38 of Liverpool’s Premier League fixtures in 2019-20 season as they won the title for the first time in 30 years, and is now revered as the best centre-back on the planet by many fans and experts.
The defender also played an important role in Klopp’s line up at the start of their latest campaign, but he is now facing a lengthy spell off the pitch after suffering a cruciate knee ligament injury.
The 29-year-old had to be substituted in the first half of the 2-2 draw with Everton after going down by a late Jordan Pickford tackle, and will undergo surgery on his knee before beginning an extensive rehabilitation programme.
Klopp says the prized asset is feeling “okay” after the incident, and that he will receive all the help he needs from Liverpool’s staff throughout his recovery period in the coming months.
“It’s always the same, players love to be rather on their own in the moment and to deal in the first moment with it,” the German head coach told a press conference on Monday. “I am long enough in the business to know that. I was injured myself, I had exactly the same injury if I’m right and it’s not then that you are then pretty chatty.
“It all will start but we are in contact, of course, we are in contact. We are there for him, he knows that and we will wait for him like a good wife is waiting when the husband is in jail and will do, meanwhile, all what we can do to make it as easy for him as possible.”
Ahead of a Champions League group stage meeting with Ajax on Wednesday, Klopp was also asked when Van Dijk’s operation will be pencilled in for, to which he responded: “That’s all not sorted yet.
“A few things are clear, so he now will be out for a while, that’s clear. We don’t want to set any timeframe, to be honest, because each player is different and each individual is different and these possible timeframes are always for the x, y, z player. Virgil is Virgil and we don’t want to set any timeframe, but he will be out for a pretty long time and that’s what the situation is.