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Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk facing surgery and long absence with cruciate injury

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Liverpool have been dealt a devastating blow after scans revealed Virgil van Dijk damaged an anterior cruciate ligament against Everton and requires surgery.

No timeframe has been put on the defender’s absence and Liverpool sources are reluctant to rule out a return this season, but he is facing several months on the sidelines and the possibility of missing the remainder of the campaign cannot be discounted.

Losing Van Dijk, however, represents a far greater setback that has implications for Liverpool’s chances of retaining the Premier League and their hopes in the Champions League.

Van Dijk was taken to hospital after the game for a scan and visited a consultant on Sunday when Liverpool’s worst fears were confirmed.

The club hope Van Dijk’s exceptional fitness record and strong mentality will enable him to recover quickly.

Van Dijk was injured early in Saturday’s Merseyside derby by an appalling foul from the England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, who escaped punishment from the referee, Michael Oliver, or the VAR official, David Coote.

The Netherlands captain has been a transformative signing since his £75m arrival from Southampton in January 2018 and almost ever-present in Liverpool’s rise to Premier League champions and Champions League winners under Klopp.
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