Paul Merson says that Virgil van Dijk returning to the side will make Liverpool like a ‘different animal’ as he gets set for his first start in 255 days.
Jurgen Klopp has confirmed that the Dutchman is in contention to start against Hertha BSC on Thursday which will be his first appearance since October.
As we all know, van Dijk suffered an ACL rupture due to a terrible challenge by Jordan Pickford but after surgery and successful rehab, he is close to full fitness.
Now, Paul Merson has written for the Daily Star that van Dijk returning for Liverpool could transform them back into the beast they were before his injury.
“Liverpool will be a different animal with Virgil Van Dijk back. He gets them pushed up and playing on the halfway line,” he wrote in the Daily Star.
“Last season was a wake-up call for them and they will be massive contenders this time around.
“I think they will sign players too, and the front three will be fresher. They will have a point to prove.”
Liverpool signed van Dijk from Southampton in 2018 for £75million (€87m) and he has since gone on to establish himself as the best central defender on the planet.
Not having him available last season was crippling and not just because of his incredible defensive abilities.
The 30-year-old is such a valuable leader and when Jordan Henderson was out injured, Jurgen Klopp’s side didn’t have the same on-pitch leadership anymore.
Having the former Celtic monster back is going to make such a big difference as Liverpool look to bounce back and win the Premier League again.
His aerial prowess, 1v1 defensive ability and spatial awareness will be so good to have back after almost a full season without him.