Liverpool has constantly been worried in the defensive department and Jurgen Klopp’s side has been dealt a big blow after prized target Virgil Van Dijk returned to training with the club’s U-23 team. The former Celtic defender had a disastrous outing on his return to footballing action against Aston Villa and it was something that he will want to forget about and fast.
In a game where one of the Premier League’s best defenders returned to action, Southampton conceded four goals over the course of ninety minutes with Van Dijk having a horrendous outing on his Southampton return.
Van Dijk had a constant speculation about his future, with the Saints unwilling to let go of the Dutch center-back. Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp was a keen admirer of the defender and was close to signing him and bringing him to Anfield until there was a fall-out between the two clubs.
Liverpool had apparently made an illegal approach to sign Van Dijk which was not taken kindly by the South coast club. And if the two clubs had agreed upon a deal, Van Dijk would have been a Liverpool player by the end of the summer transfer window.
Van Dijk had also sent in his transfer request pleading with the club to allow him to join Liverpool, but Southampton wanted to keep hold of him desperately. Since Southampton rejected a move for Van Dijk, the strong defender has been training alone at the club’s training ground and has lacked any match intensity.
In the recent horror show against Villa, Van Dijk looked way out of sorts as he was struggling throughout the 90 minutes unable to perform at his level. The 26-year-old had been injured for a while and played his last competitive league game at the beginning of the year in January. Certainly, it went to prove that even the best need some time to get back at the top.
Eight months out have had a significant impact on a high-quality player, who has proven to be the backbone of the Southampton backline, guiding and marshaling them in defense. But it is now up to the Southampton management staff to make sure Van Dijk is both physically and mentally fit.
Liverpool endured a drubbing against Manchester City last weekend after Pep Guardiola’s side smashed 5 past a poor defense. Will Klopp be wondering what if managed to recruit the services of Van Dijk?
Do The Reds Really Need Him Now?
Well, technically yes. The Merseyside outfit is in need of more defensive stars if they want to serious title contenders, not just for the Premier League title but for other cup competitions as well and it will be up to Klopp now, how he fortifies the defensive line.
Whether it is the Dutchman or some other defensive superstar, the Reds need to add more stars to their current squad and who will that be, remains to be seen in the January transfer window probably.
After the recent 2-2 draw against Sevilla in the opening fixture of the Champions League, it will be a game against Burnley at Anfield next. Like our page for more stories and news.