Like a new signing – Klopp will have €55m weapon that Premier League rivals can’t replicate

When Virgil van Dijk returns to full match fitness, the impact he will have will be akin to a new signing and it might even overshadow Ibrahima Konate’s arrival.

The Dutchman had Liverpool fans all giddy with excitement on Saturday when he posted videos to Instagram showing him striking a ball with the same leg that suffered an ACL tear.

He smashed the ball into the top corner on a training pitch as he ramps up his recovery from an anterior cruciate ligament rupture that required corrective surgery.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 12: Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk gestures during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Leeds United at Anfield on September 12, 2020 in Liverpool, United Kingdom.
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 12: Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk gestures during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Leeds United at Anfield on September 12, 2020 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Alex Dodd – CameraSport via Getty Images)

That injury has so far seen him sidelined for 252 days and saw him robbed of the chance to represent his country at the EUROs and the Netherlands have a good chance of winning the tournament.

For Liverpool, his decision to stay home and focus on recovering from what is a very dangerous injury is a welcome one as there are huge risks in returning too early.

As explained to us by Dr. Rajpal Brar: “The main risk of VVD playing at the EUROs is reinjury or another injury. Introducing him straight away into a high-intensity situation is a higher risk and this would be a little over 7 months of rehab as well

“Research shows return in less than 9 months following ACL reconstruction increases reinjury risks by up to 6x.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - MAY 23: ( THE SUN OUT,THE SUN ON SUNDAY OUT) Virgil van Dijk of Liverpool in action the crowd during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Crystal Palace at Anfield on May 23, 2021 in Liverpool, England.
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – MAY 23: ( THE SUN OUT,THE SUN ON SUNDAY OUT) Virgil van Dijk of Liverpool in action the crowd during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Crystal Palace at Anfield on May 23, 2021 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

However, if all goes well and van Dijk avoids suffering another major injury, his return to the starting XI, as Jurgen Klopp would say, will feel like a new signing.

And for once, I agree with our boss. Van Dijk had an unreal impact on Liverpool when he joined from Southampton and his absence from the side had a similarly strong but adverse effect on the Reds.

In fact, his importance to Liverpool is such that I think Ibrahima Konate’s arrival and place in the starting XI will feel somewhat underwhelming.

That’s not to say the Frenchman isn’t going to be a great player – quite the opposite as RB Leipzig coaching staff allegedly think he will one day dethrone van Dijk as the best centre-back in the world.

MADRID, SPAIN - JUNE 01: Virgil van Dijk of Liverpool kisses the trophy during the UEFA Champions League Final between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool at Estadio Wanda Metropolitano on June 01, 2019 in Madrid, Spain.
MADRID, SPAIN – JUNE 01: Virgil van Dijk of Liverpool kisses the trophy during the UEFA Champions League Final between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool at Estadio Wanda Metropolitano on June 01, 2019 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Harriet Lander/Copa/Getty Images)

However, van Dijk is the most talented centre-back around and having him back will feel like adding another world-class player to Klopp’s ranks.

Transfermarkt values him at just €55m but his value to the Kop is such that I don’t think Klopp and FSG will ever consider selling him even if it means he one day leaves for free.

You literally cannot replace him as he has no peer but with the Reds planning to renew his contract, it seems as though he will be at Anfield for a long time to come.

Michael Mongie
Football Central Media Group founder, owner and editor.

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