Liverpool have failed to win over 40% of the games they have missed Virgil van Dijk and BARELY qualified for the Champions League the last time he got injured… how the Reds fare with and without their star defender after he was ruled out for over a month
- Virgil van Dijk has been ruled out for over a month with a hamstring injury
- Liverpool suffered without the Dutchman when he was last out for a long time
- The Reds lost six home games in the 2020-21 season after his ACL injury
- Van Dijk, meanwhile, has lost just one league game at Anfield for Liverpool
- Their win percentage is well down when Van Dijk is not playing for them
Jurgen Klopp’s mood will have grown gloomier after the news that Virgil van Dijk will miss more than a month for Liverpool with a hamstring injury – adding more pain to a season that is already becoming turbulent.
The Reds do not have a great record without the Dutchman and memories will instantly hark back to the 2020-21 season, where they barely scraped into the Champions League after he missed the majority of the season with an ACL injury suffered in the Merseyside derby.
Though the Reds have had Van Dijk available this campaign, he has not enjoyed his best season.
Liverpool will be without Virgil van Dijk for a lengthy period after he suffered a hamstring injury
Jurgen Klopp’s side have struggled in the past whenever the Dutchman has not been available
Liverpool lost six Premier League games in 2020-21 when Van Dijk was injured
However, he was arguably Liverpool’s most important signing which led them to Champions League and Premier League glory, and he is still one of their most important players.
His injury comes at a bad time for the side that were two wins away from an unprecedented quadruple last season, as they sit seventh in the league and are seven points off Manchester United who occupy the final Champions League spot.
Like the 2020-21 season they will have to dig deep to put themselves back into contention for a top-four finish, before Van Dijk returns to full fitness.
During that campaign, Van Dijk was bitterly missed as the Reds went on to lose six home league matches in a row for the first time in 66 years, and it was the first time they lost that many games at Anfield in the Premier League era.
Liverpool scraped into the Champions League places the last time Van Dijk picked up an injury, with Alisson’s headed goal against West Brom proving vital in securing a top-four finish
Somehow Liverpool were able to pick themselves up with a ten-game unbeaten streak at the end of the season to finish – including a 2-1 victory over West Brom where keeper Alisson headed in a stoppage time winner – to finish three points ahead of Leicester in the battle for the top four.
Liverpool’s record with and without Van Dijk will be a cause of worry for Klopp going into some tricky fixtures ahead including Brighton away, Chelsea at Anfield as well as the Merseyside derby at home.
Counting all of Liverpool’s games in the Premier League and Champions League since Van Dijk’s £75m arrival in January 2018, Liverpool unsurprisingly have a much higher percentage of wins when he’s available.
Liverpool have a 71% win record when Van Dijk plays across the Premier League and Champions League
Liverpool are seven points off the top four after struggling this season even with Van Dijk
Liverpool had lost six of their 24 games with Van Dijk playing so far in a frustrating campaign
Across those competitions Liverpool have won 71.1% of games when he has played – compared to 57.1% when he hasn’t featured.
This means that Liverpool have failed to win in over 40% of the 56 games that Van Dijk has not played in the last five years.
Perhaps surprisingly, Liverpool’s average goals conceded is the same at 0.9 in games he has played and those he hasn’t.
But the fact it took 70 games for Van Dijk to lose his first game at Anfield, in October’s 2-1 loss to Leeds shows how important he is given that they lost six games at home in the season he played just eight games in all competitions.
Liverpool score more goals per game when Van Dijk is available (2.3 compared to 1.8) and a higher clean sheet percentage (44% to 37%).
Van Dijk’s stats though don’t sit as well this season compared to the past.
Before his injury suffered by a challenge from Everton keeper Jordon Pickford in 2020, Liverpool lost in just 14.7% of 129 games compared to 21.4% in the 14 games he missed.
Last season, Liverpool suffered defeat in just 7.8% of their 51 games compared to their one defeat in 12 matches he did not play (8.3%).
Joel Matip (left) and Ibrahima Konate (right) will be looking to impress in Van Dijk’s absence
This campaign however, the Reds have lost 25% of games that he has played and one game in the six he has not featured (16.7%).
Liverpool will hope that Ibrahima Konate, Joel Matip and Joe Gomez all step up in Van Dijk’s absence.
Two seasons ago Liverpool were also without Matip and Gomez for the large part of the season and had to play the inexperienced Nat Williams and Rhys Williams at centre-back, along with midfielders such as Jordan Henderson and Fabinho.
Konate and Matip have both impressed at Liverpool over the last year and this will be a big chance to prove their importance in the absence of Van Dijk.
Their first test will be Brighton on Saturday, a team that the Reds have failed to beat in four of their last five outings, and held Klopp’s side to a 3-3 draw in October with a team which included Van Dijk.
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