The worst fears of Liverpool fans appear to have been confirmed after it was reported that star defender Virgil van Dijk is set to miss the remainder of this season’s Premier League campaign after injuring his ACL on Saturday.

Van Dijk appeared to suffer a nasty hyperextension of his right knee after a thunderous challenge from Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford early in the first half of Saturday afternoon’s Merseyside Derby. 

The Dutchman, who is considered to be among the world’s best defenders, appeared in obvious discomfort and was quickly replaced by Joe Gomez. 

He was sent to a nearby hospital for scans to determine the extent of the injury and, per the beIn Sports broadcast, word has been received that van Dijk has injured the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his right knee – an injury which would likely rule him out of action for a period of seven to eight months. 

Information on Virgil van Dijk‘s injury is that he’s done his ACL, and will be out for the best part of 7/8 months. #awlfc [bein sports]

So this horrific tackle is not a red card because Virgil van Dijk’s elbow was slightly offside. The state of football, the game is slowly dying.

Stay strong @VirgilvDijk Your presence will be missed in the defense

Should this initial diagnosis be accurate, it would essentially mean that van Dijk would be unlikely to feature for Liverpool until the beginning of next season and could also put his participation in next summer’s European Championships in jeopardy.

The injury to van Dijk will prove to be doubly frustrating for Liverpool as they weren’t even awarded a penalty for Pickford’s obvious foul, as replays showed that van Dijk was marginally offside in the build-up to the incident – nor was Pickford issued with what would otherwise almost certainly have been a red card.

Liverpool face further fears after star summer import Thiago also complained of a knee injury following a hefty challenge which led to Everton’s Richarlison being dismissed.

The Spanish midfielder finished the game but was also sent to hospital for scans. There is no information regarding the extent of his injury just yet.

The loss of van Dijk, though, will prove difficult to digest for Liverpool supporters. He was ever-present in the last two Premier League campaigns for Liverpool and placed second in the 2019 Ballon d’Or, but now the champions must face the daunting prospect of defending their crown without their defensive heartbeat.