Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson has urged his team-mates to use Virgil van Dijk’s long-term injury as ammunition to go again once more this season.
The Netherlands international faces an extended spell on the sidelines, following a nasty challenge by Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.
While Henderson has confirmed he’s at Virgil’s disposal, the captain doesn’t want to dwell on the loss and wants the team to keep on winning.
Speaking to the club’s official website, the England international has rallied the players to pull together during what will be a testing time for the team.
“Yeah, it’s a tough one. It’s a big blow for us. For him personally, obviously. But for us as a team, a massive blow,” Henderson said of van Dijk’s injury.
“I’m just gutted for him. So, it’s been a tough couple of days, I spoke to him yesterday. And yeah, it’s a difficult moment, but that’s when you need to be there for each other.
“I’ll be there as much as I possibly can for him, I’m sure the lads will do the same and his family certainly will, to help him through the journey he’ll go on.
“But I’m sure he’ll be back stronger. In the meantime we’ve got to do everything we can to help make us stronger and basically go and win as many games as we can for him, really.
“That’s down to us as players to make sure that when he is back and he is fit that we’re still fighting to be successful and fighting for trophies.
“You’ve got to use times like this to be stronger and to be even more together than we already are. And use it as a positive in some way – I know it sounds ridiculous at the moment, but that’s what you need to try to do. We need to try to look forward and try to help us in the next however many months Virgil will be out for.
“And also stick by him and be there for him whenever he needs us. But he’s a strong character, he’s strong mentally and he certainly will be back stronger and hopefully it’s not too long.”
Liverpool are reluctant to put a time-frame on van Dijk’s recovery, but considering the nature of his injury he’s expected to miss most of the season.
It’ll be a testing period for the rest of the players, with the big Dutchman an obvious big influence in the dressing room as well as on the pitch.
In his absence, Joel Matip and Joe Gomez will serve as the default centre-half partnership – but that could change in the January transfer window.