Former Liverpool star Jamie Carragher believes that the Reds need to be careful with Virgil van Dijk as the defender still has a long way to go before he is back to his best. The 30-year-old is working his way back to full-fitness after missing a large part of last season with a knee injury.
Following a serious collision with Jordan Pickford in the Merseyside derby in October 2020, few expected Virgil van Dijk to be ruled out for the remainder of the season. But that is exactly what happened with the Dutch defender suffering a serious knee injury that kept him out for the majority of the 2020/21 season. While that affected the club, the 30-year-old has made a slow but steady recovery and even declined to participate at Euro 2020 in order to continue his recovery.
But having made his first appearance in over nine months in a pre-season friendly against Hertha Berlin, many fans and critics don’t want the defender rushed back. Jamie Carragher also admitted the same as he revealed that Van Dijk has a long road ahead and Liverpool need to be careful. The former Liverpool defender also added that fans shouldn’t expect the Reds to win a title just because Van Dijk is back as the Dutch international needs time to find his feet again.
“I think we have to be careful and I think Jurgen Klopp will be. I don’t think we should expect that Virgil van Dijk comes back into Liverpool and Liverpool are going to automatically win the league again this season. He’s had a really serious injury and he’s got to make sure he is not rushed back,” Carragher said, reported Goal.
“If he’s back to his best he is the best central defender in world football and that’s what Liverpool will want over the next five or six years, not the next five or six weeks. If he doesn’t make the first game of the season it’s not the end of the world, it is about making sure Virgil van Dijk is 100 per cent right so he’s in a position where he can have the next five or six years at Liverpool at a top level.
“It may be a gentle start with Virgil until we see him when he is 100 per cent right, but if that could be on that first game of the season and he can play the next few games I think everyone would be delighted,” he added.