The commanding Dutch defender remains a talismanic presence for the Reds, but he is still recovering from a serious knee injury.
Virgil van Dijk remains “Superman” in the eyes of many at Liverpool, but James Milner has pointed out that even players of the same size should be turned around if they return from serious injuries.
This is the case with the commanding Dutch center half at Anfield, with the 30-year-old Dutchman a large portion of the 2020-21 campaign is sitting with damage to the knee ligament.
He returned to Jurgen Klopp’s plans this season, but was rested for a Champions League group stage opener against AC Milan before returning to a 3-0 Premier League victory over Crystal Palace.
What was said?
With Van Dijk already on seven outings for club and country this season – and 100 for Liverpool in total – Milner told reporters that the Reds should treat him with caution: “We all think Virg is Superman and he is 99 times out of 100 .
‘But the injury he came back from – and to look as good as he’s done since he came back – you know, he’s not 21.
“He also needs to be taken care of, no matter how angry he gets to be left out of the team.
“I think it (rotation) is obviously important. The positions we reached last year, we were unhappy with injuries and players having to play out of position. I think it’s to help with things like that.”
In what form is Liverpool?
Liverpool are currently jointly at the top of the Premier League table, with 13 points from five games so far.
They also have a European victory over Milan and they will face Norwich in the third round of the Carabao Cup on Tuesday.
Positive progress is being made by Klopp’s team, who suffered serious injuries last season, and Milner believes they can be in better shape than then. A 30-year wait for the glory of the domestic title has ended in 2019-20.
The versatile 35-year-old added: ‘If you have some bad results and poor performance, then it gets harder.
‘But you look at this group and it’s more experienced than when we won the title. We have achieved more success.
‘We had the pain of last year, but it was a very good year, with what we could achieve in the circumstances and with the late run.
“It was a great way to end the season. But the experiences and feelings, as a group, we all experienced together and that can only be a good thing.”