Damning Liverpool assessment as pundit predicts the end for integral star whose ‘legs have gone’

Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool, October 2022 Credit: Alamy
Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool, October 2022 Credit: Alamy

Pundit Gabby Agbonlahor is worried about the future of Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk, suggesting his ‘legs have gone’ following his injury against Brentford.

Van Dijk had a poor first half as Liverpool went into the break 2-0 down at the Brentford Community Stadium. And he was substituted by Jurgen Klopp due to tweaking his hamstring.

The Liverpool boss attempted to downplay the injury after the match, saying Van Dijk ‘felt his hamstring a little bit’ and that it ‘is nothing serious’.

However, the centre-half could miss some of Liverpool’s upcoming games. The Times reporter Paul Joyce provided a concerning update on Wednesday afternoon, tweeting: ‘Virgil van Dijk facing spell on sidelines for Liverpool. Hamstring injury sustained in defeat to Brentford is worse than first feared.’

Overall, Van Dijk has been incredibly reliable for the Reds since joining in a £75million deal from Southampton in January 2018. That is other than his ACL injury in October 2020, which kept him out of action for nine months.

But the Dutchman is now 31 years old. And at this stage of a player’s career, it gradually becomes harder to return from injuries and get back to the level they were at before.

During a recent interview, former Aston Villa ace Agbonlahor has expressed concern this might be a sign of the end for Van Dijk. His legs may have ‘gone’, which means he would struggle to continue being world-class upon his return to the Liverpool side.

“I’m hoping it’s just a bad spell for him,” the pundit told Football Insider. “But when I’m watching him, he doesn’t look himself.

Virgil van Dijk ‘looks laboured’, says observer

“We’ve seen [Bryan] Mbeumo run in behind him, and he wasn’t catching him. The Van Dijk of old would have been all over it, but he looked laboured.

“Maybe there is an underlying injury, but not everyone can play at the top level until 37 or 38. It could be that his legs have gone.

“It happens – even to the best players – and that will be a real worry for Liverpool.”

Liverpool supporters will obviously be concerned about Van Dijk. Although, there is good reason to suggest he will overcome his injury and begin to shine for Liverpool again. He looks after himself incredibly well, which will give him the best chance at recovering fully.

And Klopp – unfortunately – has plenty of experience dealing with defensive injuries. So the manager will make sure to use Van Dijk only when he is fully fit, to prevent another problem from occurring. Klopp will ease him back in, potentially with substitute appearances.

Van Dijk is also one of the classiest defenders around. He often dominates on the pitch and shows no sign of nerves or stress. He might not be at his best right now, but he will be determined to reach top form after recovering from his hamstring issue.

In the mean time, Klopp will play Joel Matip and Ibrahima Konate at centre-back for Liverpool’s upcoming games. They host Wolves at Anfield on Saturday in the FA Cup third round. After that, they will travel to Brighton a week later in a Prem clash.

Meanwhile, Klopp has once again responded to reports Liverpool will win the race for Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham.

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