The Athletic’s Liverpool correspondent James Pearce appeared on the latest edition of Sky Sports’ Sunday Supplement to discuss all of the latest news concerning the Merseyside club.
During the show, he was asked about the possibility that Virgil van Dijk, who has been unavailable for selection for the Reds since suffering a ruptured cruciate ligament back in October, could return before the end of the 2020/21 campaign.
Pearce poured cold water on that claim, however, as he declared that Liverpool don’t expect to have the 29-year-old available for selection before the end of the season, though he may be available for the Netherlands at the European Championships in the summer.
The journalist said: “I think if Liverpool were to get any football whatsoever out of Van Dijk this season it would be a huge bonus.
“There’s certainly not an expectation that he will be back; what I’ve been told is he’s on course in terms of his rehab, but nothing more than that. His target was obviously to get himself back for the Euros.
“I think the idea that he’s going to get back in March or something and play a huge role, I just don’t think is realistic, when you suffer an injury as serious as the one that he has.”
Is this a positive update?
TIF Thoughts on what Pearce said about Van Dijk…
While Van Dijk, who won UEFA’s Best Player in Europe award in 2019, is undoubtedly a major absentee for the Reds given the defensive ‘crisis‘ that has ensued, you could argue that his absence is made even worse by the fact that he isn’t the only Liverpool centre-back out of action due to injury at present, with Joe Gomez and Joel Matip also on the sidelines.
So, it may be fair to say that an earlier-than-anticipated return for the £72m-rated man would certainly be an exciting game-changer for the Merseyside club and as a result, Pearce’s update could be disheartening for Reds fans.
However, while it seems like Van Dijk is unlikely to feature again for the Reds this term, which could harm their chances of retaining the Premier League title, surely it’s positive that Pearce has declared the centre-back is on track with his recovery and if he is fully fit for the Euros, gets through that competition unscathed and can return to action for the 2021/22 campaign in top condition, then at least that’s something for Liverpool fans to look forward to, so Pearce’s update may not be entirely a bad one.