How does Van Dijk’s absence hurt Liverpool?

How does Van Dijk's absence hurt Liverpool? 4

(Dan Tri) – Virgil van Dijk has transformed Liverpool’s defense in nearly three years since he arrived at Anfield.

Van Dijk faces knee surgery due to anterior cruciate ligament damage in a collision with goalkeeper Jordan Pickford in the 2-2 Merseyside derby last Saturday night.

“It was a shock for Liverpool,” said former Liverpool defender Stephen Warnock.

Liverpool paid £75 million, then a world record fee for a defender, to sign Van Dijk from Southampton in January 2018. Since then, the Kop have won both the Champions League and

`The cornerstone` of Liverpool

Chart calculating average minutes to concede a goal for defenders (as of January 22, 2018)

Van Dijk has only missed one Premier League match since joining Liverpool.

The 2018/19 season ended with two individual awards for Van Dijk, he was the PFA (British Professional Footballers Association) Player of the Year, as well as the first defender to receive the Best Player award.

Van Dijk played in all 38 Premier League matches in the 2018/19 season as Liverpool conceded only 22 goals, the lowest number in Europe’s top six leagues that season.

In Van Dijk’s 95 Premier League appearances for Liverpool, they only conceded 78 goals and kept 44 clean sheets.

Why will Liverpool miss Van Dijk so much?

How does Van Dijk's absence hurt Liverpool?

Chart of the best scoring defenders in the Premier League (as of January 22, 2018)

Since his first time playing for Liverpool, Van Dijk has always ranked at the top of the list of most clean sheets kept in the Premier League.

The Dutch captain played a big part in that achievement because he was very difficult to beat.

Since joining Liverpool, Van Dijk  also has the best duel success rate (74.4%), better than any player who has played over 100 matches in the Premier League, performing duels

Van Dijk is second in terms of success rate in aerial duels.

How does Van Dijk's absence hurt Liverpool?

Van Dijk is very strong in duels

For a better comparison, we can mention Man City midfielder Harry Maguire, a player with a `protector’s` body.

Among players who have played more than 50 times since Van Dijk debuted for Liverpool, only Man City pair Aymeric Laporte and Kyle Walker have a better average number of minutes conceded than the Kop centre-back.

However, any individual comparisons are not important.

Who can fill Van Dijk’s absence?

How does Van Dijk's absence hurt Liverpool?

Gomez (left) and Matip (right)

The concern for Klopp now is whether the defenders currently at Liverpool can step up and fill the void left by Van Dijk.

Joel Matip, 29 years old, and Joe Gomez, 23 years old, have shared the task of becoming Van Dijk’s partners in recent times, now they carry Liverpool’s great expectations when they become the main center-back pair of The Kop.

Matip made 22 appearances in the Premier League in 2018-19, but only 9 matches last season.

How does Van Dijk's absence hurt Liverpool?

Table comparing some defensive stats of three Liverpool midfielders

If you look at the statistics, Liverpool fans will surely be worried because Van Dijk was only beaten by opponents only 8 times in 95 matches for Liverpool, while Matip (36 times defeated) and Gomez (42 times defeated).

After 76 matches in the Premier League, Gomez has yet to make a mistake that directly leads to a goal, while Matip has played eight fewer matches than Van Dijk but also made two mistakes, and the Dutch player has made three mistakes.

The absence of Van Dijk certainly weakens Liverpool’s aerial ability, including defense and attack.

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