Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk explained that a knee problem prevented him from completing his side’s FA Cup final win on Saturday over Chelsea.
Van Dijk was withdrawn for Joel Matip in the 90th minute, missing out on extra time and penalties at Wembley.
Without their defensive titan the Reds saw out the additional half-hour and prevailed 6-5 in the resulting shoot-out, with another substitute, Kostas Tsimikas, netting the winning kick.
What did Van Dijk say about his substitution?
“Hopefully well, we’re going to check it out,” the defender explained to reporters when asked about his injury.
“I felt in the first half when I sprinted, I felt a twinge behind my knee, I played on. In the end, I can’t risk it for the team and I need to trust Joel. Hopefully it will be fine.”
Van Dijk went on to salute his team-mates and in particular goalkeeper Alisson for delivering the second title of 2021-22 after February’s Carabao Cup win, saying: “Another trophy. It’s been too long since the club won this trophy. Both sides created opportunities. We have the best goalkeeper in the world.”
What other injuries did Liverpool suffer?
Fighting on four different fronts has taken its toll on the Liverpool squad, with the likes of Van Dijk, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane clocking almost 50 games this season – while Jordan Henderson and Diogo Jota, as well as Alisson, have already passed the half-century.
Now, as they enter the final three games of 2021-22, the Reds have two pressing fitness concerns.
As well as Van Dijk, Salah also came off through injury on Saturday and would be a big loss should he be forced to sit out the final weeks, with the Reds next facing Southampton on Tuesday.
Klopp told ESPN: “I think [Salah, Van Dijk] are kind of OK. I don’t think they will be ready for Tuesday, to be honest…I don’t think they would have been ready for Tuesday anyway!
“But I think they are alright, it was more of a precaution. Mo felt something, said ‘I could carry on’ and I had to make a decision, I said no. If you’re feeling something on the pitch, it’s not going to get better [if you keep playing], staying on is not the best treatment!
“With Virgil, it was more clear: 90 minutes yes, 120 minutes no.
“But what a situation, you bring on Joel Matip! Oh my God! That’s really cool. So, all fine.”