Liverpool told Van Dijk absence could be ‘better for the team’ as Klopp tests out new pairing in cup draw

Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip Credit: Alamy
Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip Credit: Alamy

Liverpool have been told that talismanic defender Virgil van Dijk’s absence for the next month could actually end up being ‘better for the team’.

Jurgen Klopp confirmed on Friday that the Netherlands centre-back will be out for up to four weeks after picking up a hamstring problem during the first-half of the 3-1 loss at Brentford.

With Van Dijk on the sidelines Klopp partnered Joel Matip with Ibrahima Konate for the 2-2 FA Cup draw with Wolves.

And, according to former West Ham striker Frank McAvennie, Van Dijk’s absence means Klopp could actually settle on that pairing rather than constantly chopping and changing as he has this season.

When asked if a spell on the sidelines could be a blessing in disguise for the Van Dijk, McAvennie told Football Insider: “He has been playing all the time.

“They have got Matip and Konate there who can come in. One or the other has been playing with Van Dijk. They have been chopping and changing but one has always been with Van Dijk.

“Maybe it is time to give others a chance. There is no matching Van Dijk’s quality. Neither of them can match that. But maybe the two of them in there fighting together might be the best thing.

“Van Dijk can get a break and maybe it will be better for the team.”

Klopp to settle on regular pairing

While Klopp also has Joe Gomez and Nat Phillips to call on as well, it appears that the Matip-Konate pairing is the best way to go until Van Dijk is available, then the Reds boss will have another potential headache on his hands.

Van Dijk has made 24 appearances in all competitions for the Reds this season. However, he has not quite been the imposing presence of previous years gone by at Anfield.

Van Dijk has made 24 appearances for the Reds across all competitions this season for a Reds side struggling domestically.

Klopp’s men face an FA Cup replay with Wolves after failing to beat the Molineux outfit on Saturday evening.

The Premier League continues to be a struggle, with the Reds currently sitting sixth, seven points off the top four.

They are back in action next Saturday when they head to high-flying Brighton in the league.

READ MORE: Klopp open to shock U-turn over departing Liverpool pair as three-man transfer target list is revealed

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