Liverpool supporters will have breathed a collective sigh of relief on Sunday morning as Virgil van Dijk shared a positive video update on his recovery which showed him doing ball work on a pitch for the first time.
The 29-year-old, widely regarded as the Premier League’s standout central defender, has been sidelined since Liverpool’s bad-tempered 2-2 draw at Goodison Park back in mid-October, where he was forced off after a shocking challenge from Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.
Scans showed Van Dijk had suffered an ACL tear and therefore required surgery and the Premier League champions have struggled in the Dutchman’s absence across a difficult winter period, with centre-back partner Joe Gomez also out injured.
Van Dijk has been working on his fitness at the NAS Sports Complex in Dubai with Dejan Lovren, who wished his ex-Liverpool team-mate all the best with the rest of his recovery.
‘It was nice to see my former teammate Virgil today,’ the former Liverpool centre-back tweeted.
‘A tough injury he had, but he looks stronger than ever, soon brother you will be on top of your level again.
‘Good luck to Liverpool in today’s derby. We are with you!’
Discussing Van Dijk’s fitness earlier this month, Liverpool head coach Klopp said he was delighted to see the centre-half making such ‘good progress’ but warned he was still a long way from returning.
‘Good, very good. I have no problem with talking about Virgil van Dijk,’ the German told the club’s official website.
‘It’s very good but still a long way to go, that’s this kind of injury.
‘I’m happy when I see these videos, to be honest, because it just shows that he makes good progress.
‘It will still take a lot of time but that’s how it is.
‘I would like to say something else but these are the facts, unfortunately.’
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