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Virgil van Dijk warned against making quick return as video suggests he is stepping up his recovery

Too risky to rush return to action for Van Dijk
Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez are two of Liverpool’s long-term absentees (Martin Rickett/PA)

Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez are two of Liverpool’s long-term absentees (Martin Rickett/PA)

Kevin Palmer

Virgil van Dijk appears to be stepping up his efforts to make a swift return from his knee injury after he posted footage of him working on a training pitch with a football, but he has been warned against making a quick return to action.

Liverpool centre-back Van Dijk injured cruciate ligaments in October's Merseyside derby against Everton and was expected to be out for the rest of this season.

Yet he has been moving forward with his recovery in recent weeks and after a video of him training at Liverpool's new training complex was published last month, Van Dijk put a short film on his Instagram account confirming he is working with a ball again in what appears to be a rapid recovery from such a serious injury.

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Yet former Manchester United physio Matty Radcliffe has told sundayworld.com that it is hard to take shortcuts with cruciate ligament injuries, as a rush to return can result in more serious injury.

"The programme required to come back from this type of injury is tried and tested and you can't really consider taking shortcuts," he told us.

"I have worked with a lot of players coming back from cruciate ligament injuries and you need to build up slowly and make sure you don't try to come back too soon.

"A player may feel like he is ready to play before he is medically safe to do so and the job of the physio and everyone around the player is to make sure there is no temptation to come back for a specific match or maybe a World Cup or European Championships."

Hope that Van Dijk could play for Liverpool against his season were raised when Holland boss Frank De Boer revealed last month that he was expecting the defender to be part of his squad for next summer's European Championship finals after a Zoom chat with his defensive talisman.

"He is busy with so much energy," De Boer told De Telegraaf. "In my time you were only allowed to kick in the swimming pool.

"If Virgil doesn’t get a kickback and things go a little faster than expected, he should be able to make it to the European Championship opening match on 13th June against Ukraine. He is very important for our team, on and off the field."

Van Dijk has been sorely missed by Liverpool in recent months, with a season ending injury to Joe Gomez leaving Jurgen Klopp's side woefully short in central defensive positions.

Midfielders Jordan Henderson and Fabinho have filled in at centre-back in Liverpool's last two Premier League matches, with Klopp admitting he is unlikely to sign a defender this month due to the club's strained financial position amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

"I can't say definitely we won't bring someone in, it's just not likely because of the situation in the world," said Klopp.

"It's a tough one for all people and football clubs. Some clubs don't have financial problems but this club - these owners - very responsible.

"I don't know if something will happen or not. It would be a short-term solution and that is not right, it doesn't help really. So we deal like we have so far. It's not the best moment for the whole planet so why would it be for a football club?"

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