Nightmares are slowly becoming a reality when Van Dijk could cut his knee ligaments and had to take at least 7-8 months of absence. That means this season for the Dutch midfielder is considered to be over.
Liverpool can live well without Allison, Salah, Mane or Thiago, but the long-term absence of Van Dijk is a completely different story. Journalist Michael Cox once explained on The Athletic the reason why Europe’s top clubs are now infatuated with the left-footed midfielder.
The reason is that if the left-footed midfielder plays left-footed in defense. The ability to develop the ball from the home field will be easier. Because a left-footed pass on the left-hand side always has a more elusive trajectory than a right-foot pass.
In the last two seasons Man City won the Premier League, Aymeric Laporte was a left-footed midfielder who took on this role. Why is Van Dijk not left-footed, but still becomes the defensive leader of Liverpool to win the Champions League and the Premier League. Even the best center-back in the world for the past 2 years?
The ability to choose the position of the Dutch midfielder is excellent. He was imbued with the thoughts of defense professors like Paolo Maldini. If he had to tack the ball, it meant he was on the wrong position.
Van Dijk is also tall enough, even agile to be ready in a one-to-one situation with the opponent’s speed. Nobody ran faster than Van Dijk in that Champions League season, not even players famous for the speed like Kylian Mbappe.
Gomez kept making mistakes from the start of the season with basic positioning mistakes. Matip did not have the speed and vision to connect with Salah from the pitch like Van Dijk had caused Arsenal. And Fabinho was originally not a center-back.