Van Dijk’s injury seemed to push Liverpool into the abyss, but “The Kop” showed strength at the most difficult moment. Nearly 2 months since Virgil van Dijk suffered a ligament injury, Liverpool did not know the smell of failure in the Premier League and won a ticket to continue in the Champions League one round early.
The injury of the Dutch midfielder is finally an opportunity for coach Klopp to explore the potential of all the personnel he has in hand. Liverpool is still very strong despite the absence of what seems to be the most important factor.
Liverpool did not lose in the Premier League since Van Dijk was injured
The moment of Van Dijk’s injury can be seen as the bottom of Liverpool this season. Previously, “The Kop” lost to Aston Villa 2-7 on the day Van Dijk failed in the ability to command the defense. When he met Everton flying high with James Rodriguez in the next round, Van Dijk played 11 minutes before leaving the field after a collision with goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.
Things got worse for Liverpool then when Joe Gomez, Fabinho, and Joel Matip were injured respectively. Liverpool was forced to patch up when they had to use both Nathaniel Philipps, the second-team midfielder costing £ 800,000, and Rhys Williams, a player born in 2001.
Fabinho is playing the role of the leader of the Liverpool defense
In 11 Champions League and Premier League matches that Van Dijk did not play, coach Klopp used seven ways to arrange a rotation according to the personnel he had, only in the midfield pair.
Fabinho – Gomez, and Fabinho – Matip received the most confidence when used by the German army in six matches. Two young midfielders Rhys Williams and Nathan Philipps each had two main matches.
Liverpool lost one of these (0-2 against Atalanta in the Champions League), the other won 8 and drew 2. Now “The Kop” is second in the Premier League, equal to Tottenham’s point but lost the difference and entered the round knock-out Champions League one round early.
It was an achievement that was not easy to imagine at the time Van Dijk was injured. The majority of professionals at the time two months ago cleverly said that “The Kop” would decline due to the absence of Van Dijk.
No disaster occurred at Anfield. Fabinho, Matip, Gomez are still playing full-blown at the center of “The Kop” defense. Liverpool may not be as invincible as most of last season but never fell into a deep hole without Van Dijk.