LIVERPOOL

Van Dijk impossible to replace for Liverpool and Netherlands – Seedorf

Virgil van Dijk could miss the rest of the season for Liverpool, but Clarence Seedorf thinks his competitive nature can be replicated.

Van Dijk impossible to replace for Liverpool and Netherlands – Seedorf

Liverpool and the Netherlands will find it impossible to replace Virgil van Dijk during his injury absence, but that does not mean either must be less competitive, according to Oranje great Clarence Seedorf.

Van Dijk suffered knee ligament damage in last month's Merseyside derby, sustaining the injury as a result of a forceful challenge from Jordan Pickford.

The Dutchman could ultimately miss the rest of the club season and even next year's delayed Euro 2020.

His absence will be most felt by the Reds given how influential he has been since making a big-money move from Southampton – he was particularly colossal last season as Liverpool ended a 30-year wait for a top-flight crown.

Van Dijk attempted more passes (3,255) than any other defender in the Premier League, while only two other defenders with more than 1,500 had a better completion rate than him (89.2 per cent).

On top of that, Trent Alexander-Arnold (3,664) was the sole defender to have more touches of the ball than Van Dijk (3,624), his 239 duels won were the joint-fifth-best among rearguard players and his 191 aerial wins was bettered by only James Tarkowski (199).

Liverpool's situation has not been helped by further injuries to other members of their defence this term and Seedorf accepts that Van Dijk is irreplaceable even in the best of circumstances, but he does not think the centre-back's competitive attitude is unattainable.

Seedorf told Stats Perform News: "I was sad for him that it happened but also, knowing him and his character, when bad things happened, you are sad for a few days then you need to look forward and start fighting your way back.

"That's what he's doing and that's what he did in the first couple of days with statements he made.

"We wish him the best recovery possible so he can get back on the pitch and continue showing his talent and leadership.

"It's the coach's problem to solve it. I don't have the insight to show how they can solve it. Liverpool, especially, have good players.

"You cannot substitute Van Dijk but you can maintain competitiveness. They have a lot of players who are at a good level, which is the same for the Dutch national team."