Liverpool’s hopes of defending their firstPremier League title took a turn after their star defender Virgil van Dijk suffered a knee injury during the Merseyside derby.

So will he be forced to miss the rest of the season? Goal takes a look.

Liverpool have not set a timeline for Van Dijk’s full return to fitness, but it is safe to say that he will likely miss out on the majority of the 2020-21 campaign.

The Netherlands centre-back successfully underwent surgery in October following his clash with Pickford, with Liverpool confirming the outcome of the procedure.

“The Liverpool defender’s planned operation took place in London and was conducted successfully,” Liverpool stated on their official website.

“Van Dijk will now immediately focus on the beginning of his rehabilitation with the support of the Reds’ medical department. No timeframe has been placed on the Dutchman’s return to action.”

ACL injuries can take anywhere from six to 12 months to recover from, and so Van Dijk’s most hopeful return date will be around April or May.

Still, a return in the spring will mean that he will be unavailable for most of the current season, including the entire Champions League group-stage campaign.

Van Dijk has expressed his optimism ahead of the recovery period, vowing on his Twitterto return to action stronger than before:”This afternoon I met with a leading consultant to start the process of planning the finer details of my rehabilitation following the incident yesterday,” he said.

“I’m now fully focused on my recovery and will do everything I can to be back as quickly as possible.

“Despite the obvious disappointment, I’m a firm believer that within difficulty lies opportunity and with God’s help I’m going to make sure I return better, fitter and stronger than ever before.”

Van Dijk’s absence will no doubt be a huge blow to Liverpool, with the Netherlands international previously not missing a single minute ofPremier League action since September 2018. His injury against Evertonended a 74-game streak.

He was instrumental in the Reds’ successful 2019-20 Premier League campaign, with ex-Liverpool vice-captain Jamie Carragher suggesting that his absence will leave the title up for grabs.

“So I think it blows the title race wide open, I really do,” said Carragher.

“I still felt at the start of this season that Liverpool certainly were the team to beat, and I think with Van Dijk being out for what looks like the whole season, now I think it’s going to be all on.”

The Euros, which were originally due to be held in 2020 but werepushed back for a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, is slated to take place fromJune 11 toJuly 11.

Realistically, Van Dijk has a very strong chance of returningto full fitness in time to represent the Netherlands in UEFA’s showpiece continental tournament.

Source :