Virgil van Dijk injury: Liverpool star tipped to return in ‘February or March’

Liverpool: Klopp opens up on if new defender will be signed

Virgil van Dijk could return for Liverpool before the end of the season, with the centre-back showing signs of impressive progress. That’s the view of former England international Carlton Palmer, who thinks a return could deter Jurgen Klopp from making a splash in the January window.

The talismanic defender has been out of action since suffering an anterior cruciate ligament injury in the Merseyside derby against Everton in October.

Initial reports suggested Van Dijk would miss the entirety of the season, with his defensive partner Joe Gomez facing a similarly lengthy spell on the sidelines.

Klopp has been extensively linked with a defensive signing in the current window, despite the impressive form of Fabinho at the back.

In recent weeks, Van Dijk has posted a number of updates on his social media, showing the Netherlands international rehabilitating in the gym.

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And Palmer, who has seen a similar recovery made by Alan Shearer, believes he could beat expectations and return in the next couple of months.

“From what I’m seeing from him, he’s on the bike now and he’s started to jog a bit,” he told Football Fancast.

“If he’s into straight-line running, you would think in the next month to two months (he could be back) – he’s an exceptional athlete and a consummate pro.

“If you look, in the past at Alan Shearer having a cruciate [injury], I think Shearer was back in record time because he looks after himself and keeps himself fit, players like that do recover quicker from injury.

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“You say the season at the time was written off for him, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him back maybe at the back end of February, beginning of March.

“If that’s the case, there’s no need for them to go into the transfer market and pay money for someone they don’t really want.”

But while Van Dijk’s updates have got supporters excited, the Reds boss has been far more cautious about his player’s recovery.

Speaking recently, Klopp admitted that he enjoys seeing the defender’s regular updates, but warned fans he faces a long road to recovery.

“Good, very good. I have no problem with talking about Virgil van Dijk. It’s very good but still a long way to go, that’s this kind of injury,” Klopp said last week.

“I’m happy when I see these videos, to be honest, because it just shows that he makes good progress.

“But it will still take a lot of time, that’s how it is. I would like to say something else but these are the facts, unfortunately.”

Fellow centre-back Joel Matip faces a fitness race of his own if he is to be ready to play Manchester United next weekend.

Matip suffered an adductor strain last month, with Klopp admitting they will try and get him ready for the top of the table clash against their old rivals.

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