Will Liverpool still win the Premier League with Virgil van Dijk out injured? Big Debate

Will Liverpool still win the Premier League with Virgil van Dijk out injured? Big Debate

Liverpool will be without star centre-back Virgil van Dijk for a prolonged period of time as he is set to undergo knee surgery. Express Sport reporters have had their say on whether the Reds will still win the title in our latest Big Debate.

Gideon Brooks

In a word, no.

I would say the same if they lost Sadio Mane or Alisson. Without any of them, they simply are a lesser team and with Man City looking stronger this time around, such a loss is likely to prove key.

For all that the gap of 18 points last season showed clear water between them and their rivals, I am not sure they came back quite as good after lockdown.

And the early evidence this campaign is that teams can get at them if they go toe to toe.

If that is the case with Virgil van Dijk in their ranks, without him they look right back in the pack.

Stuart Ballard

Jurgen Klopp will probably be asking himself this very question after the weekend.

He wouldn’t want to have headed into January needing to sign a central defender but now it’s more important than ever and it could end up being the difference on whether they’re able to defend their title.

What is in Liverpool’s favour this season is the fact it looks as though it’s going to be incredibly tight at the top anyway with a bunch of surprise results already.

But while Liverpool have the joint-worst defensive record so far even with Van Dijk in their team, over the course of a season he will be the type of player who helps Liverpool win crucial games.

Without his presence at the back, partnered with the injury problems both Joe Gomez and Joel Matip have been dealing with, spells disaster for Liverpool and it’s tough to see how they can defend their title without Van Dijk.

Ryan Taylor

It’s tough to call but Liverpool are still the team to beat in my opinion due to the arrival of Thiago Alcantara.

Should he stay fit, Liverpool have enough depth in midfield to drop Fabinho in at centre-back, if required.

The other variable is whether Joel Matip and Joe Gomez can stay fit, a difficult ask on the basis of the past year.

Both will need to step up in the absence of Van Dijk but thankfully it appears other teams are yet to find their feet.

Tottenham looked like outsiders for the title yesterday at 3-0 but their defence is clearly a hindrance.

I’m still not convinced about Manchester City but I expect the final points tally of this season’s champions to be significantly lower than previous years. For that reason, a stretch of consistency could go a long way.

Luke Gardener

Liverpool should still walk the league. Virgil van Dijk is good but the Reds have the best attack in the league by some distance.

If Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino fire I don’t see anyone getting near Jurgen Klopp’s side.

Liverpool win the league by 18 points last season. Is Van Dijk worth that much?

The answer is no and while Klopp’s side may lose the odd game I don’t see the likes of Manchester City, Chelsea or Manchester United posing a real threat.

The players will also have the added motivation of wanting to lift the Premier League trophy for their injured team-mate.

Daniel Blackham

Yes, Liverpool can still win the Premier League title this year, but it will depend almost entirely on Alisson Becker’s condition.

Having arguably the best centre-back in world football out for the season would be a blow to any club, but having the man who is probably the best goalkeeper in the world in your team will soften the impact slightly.

Much will be asked of Joel Matip and Joe Gomez, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Fabinho fill in a bit more at the back considering how well he plays out from there.

Jurgen Klopp can afford to take him out of midfield if Thiago Alcantara’s injury isn’t as bad as first feared.

It’s definitely not good news for Liverpool fans, as there is no denying the fact Van Dijk is a pitoval part of the way they play.

But the club’s transfer business in bringing in Thiago could well have saved them in the long-run, and Alisson returning from injury in a few weeks will be like Christmas come early for the Reds.

Published at Mon, 19 Oct 2020 13:51:00 +0000