Jamie Carragher urges Liverpool not to rush Virgil van Dijk back into action
The Liverpool mainstay has not taken the field in a competitive fixture since October last year after he suffered a serious knee injury that sidelined him for the entirety of the 2020/21 season.
Van Dijk has returned to training ahead of the new season, which is just a fortnight away. The Netherlands international made his much-awaited return to the field featuring 20 minutes in the pre-season friendly against Hertha Berlin on Thursday.
Liverpool play three more fixtures against Bologna, Athletic Bilbao and Osasuna before the start of the 2021/22 campaign. Featuring in those contests could potentially put him in line to start when Liverpool face Norwich City in their opening Premier League fixture of the new season.
Carragher urges safety-first approach
However, Carragher has warned Jurgen Klopp & co. against rushing the towering defender into action, insisting that it would be alright if Van Dijk did not feature against the Canaries.
“I think we have to be careful and I think Jurgen Klopp will be. He’s had a really serious injury and he’s got to make sure he is not rushed back. 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.
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Carragher hits the nail right on the head with his statements. With Joel Matip, Joe Gomez back and Ibrahima Konate also signed, it would not hurt Liverpool to be a bit more careful with Van Dijk with an eye on the long-term plans.