Virgil van Dijk has returned to outdoor Liverpool training for the first time since sustaining a nightmare ACL injury back in September.
Van Dijk, 29, has not featured for the Premier League champions since Jordan Pickford’s heavy challenge in their 2-2 draw at Everton forced him to undergo knee surgery.
For the last five months the Dutchman has been completing rehabilitation at Liverpool’s AXA Training Centre alongside centre-back partner Joe Gomez, who suffered the same injury a few months later.
In their absence, Jurgen Klopp’s men have fallen by the wayside in the defence of their Premier League title, with a run of four straight defeats leaving them 13 points behind leaders Manchester City.
Fortunately for the Reds, Van Dijk has edged a step closer to his long-awaited return by taking part in his first outdoor training session since picking up the injury five months ago.
He was spotted carrying out a number of individual sessions in Kirkby, but the timeframe of his potential return still remains unclear.
Van Dijk also posted a video on social media this week showing off his fitness with a range of gym-based drills, along with the promising caption: “Another day. Another step closer.”
Liverpool have missed their towering centre-back’s leadership and defensive presence at the back this season, with the likes of Jordan Henderson and Fabinho forced to operate as makeshift defenders in his and Gomez’s absence.
But Reds legend Jamie Carragher is fed up of talking about Van Dijk’s injury, stressing that his former side need to find a way to win without him.
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He said on Sky Sports: “I said on the TV I’m sick of talking about Virgil Van Dijk, and what I mean by that is we’ve highlighted that on this show, the bigger picture,” the Liverpool legend said.
“Liverpool can’t win the league, I said that after the last derby game, they can’t win the league with Van Dijk being out for the whole season, I didn’t feel.
“That’s the bigger picture but the problems Liverpool have, whether the defenders are out, the midfielders are at centre-back, that does not mean they can’t win home games against Everton, Brighton, Burnley, West Brom.
“Manchester United, maybe, Manchester City, real top quality, but it’s not an excuse for individual games.
“No matter what problem you have as a Liverpool player, you can’t not win at home for six games, that’s not acceptable. It’s not.”
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