Virgil Van Dijk vows to return stronger as he reacts to ACL injury
'I'm ready for the challenge ahead'
Virgil van Dijk has vowed to return from injury 'better, fitter and stronger,' in an Instagram post shared on Sunday night.
The Liverpool defender was injured after a challenge from Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford during the early stages of Saturday's Merseyside Derby and was substituted minutes later.
The severity of the injury was confirmed on Sunday afternoon, when Liverpool announced the resulting damage to Van Dijk's anterior cruciate ligament would require surgery.
The club have not put a timescale on Van Dijk's recovery but the nature of his injury means it is likely he will miss most - possibly all - of the rest of the season.
Despite the lengthy lay-off, the former Southampton defender appeared relatively positive about his rehabilitation in his Instagram post.
'I'm now fully focussed on my recovery and will do everything I can to be back as quickly as possible,' he promised.
'Despite the obvious disappointment, I'm a firm believer that within difficulty lies opportunity and with God's help I'm going to make sure I return better, fitter and stronger than ever before.
'In football, as in life, I believe everything happens for a reason and it' important to try and keep level headed whether going through the highs or the lows. With the support of my wife, kids, family and everyone at Liverpool, I'm ready for the challenge ahead.'
Van Dijk closed the message by thanking fans for their message of support.
His absence will leave Liverpool with just two orthodox centre-backs in Joe Gomez and Joel Matip after Dejan Lovren left for Zenit St Petersburg in the summer.
With the transfer window closed, Jurgen Klopp will have to wait until January to strengthen his defensive options.