Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has confirmed that Virgil van Dijk will be sidelined for ‘more than a month’ as a result of a hamstring injury suffered at the start of this week.
Van Dijk had to come off at half-time as the Reds were humbled by Brentford in the Premier League, with the issue later reported to be worse than first thought.
Now, following further assessments in the day since, Klopp has been able to put a recovery timeframe on the situation for the first time.
“Virg was a surprise for us and a big blow,” the Liverpool boss said ahead of facing Wolves in the FA Cup third round this weekend.
“The diagnosis was pretty harsh. It’s more than a month, but I hope it goes quick. It’s hard, but for him he has played an incredible amount of games in recent years.”
That kind of timeframe puts Van Dijk’s potential return some time in mid-February at the earliest. Liverpool have five games between now and then, starting with the FA Cup visit of Wolves and finishing with the Merseyside derby on 13 February.
There are concerns about Liverpool’s level of cover at the heart of the defence. Klopp only has four senior centre-backs available to him – Joel Matip, Ibrahima Konate, Joe Gomez and Nat Phillips. But both Matip and Konate have had injury problems of their own this season.
Liverpool are in the process of recalling 20-year-old defender Billy Koumetio from a loan at Austria Vienna. The young Frenchman has played two first-team games for the club, although it isn’t clear if triggering his recall was already in motion prior to Van Dijk’s injury.