Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk has revealed that playing too many games this season has affected his performance, following his recovery from an ACL injury sustained in October 2020. The towering Dutchman, who has been criticized this season for his lackluster form, has admitted that he should have taken a break before and after the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
Van Dijk, who has made 27 appearances for Liverpool this season, expressed regret at not taking the necessary time to recover fully. Speaking to The Telegraph, he said:
“I came back from quite a complex injury. That takes treatment; that takes time; it takes getting used to and adaptation. Coming back from the knee injury, I played all the Premier League games because everybody wants to be out there, and I want to be out there. What caught up is that I played too many games at a time. When it's game day, I want to play and I'll do everything possible to play, but I could have also thought before the World Cup, 'let's rest a little bit in order to be ready'."
The Liverpool star, who has scored three goals and helped keep 12 clean sheets this season, added:
“I didn't because I want to play, and I want to be influential for this football club because I love this club, and I work each and every day to be successful for this club. But it caught up with me unfortunately, my body. I'm not a robot, and I think going into the World Cup, having the World Cup, and then doing nothing for a week and coming back was maybe not the right decision.”
Van Dijk's comments come at a time when Liverpool's defensive struggles have been in the spotlight. The Reds have conceded 33 goals in the Premier League this season, the joint-most in the top ten, and have been criticized for their lack of solidity at the back. As one of the key players in Liverpool's title-winning campaign in 2019-20, Van Dijk's form has been a cause for concern for the Anfield faithful.
Despite his recent struggles, however, there is no denying Van Dijk's quality as a defender. The towering Dutchman is one of the best center-backs in the world when he is fully fit, and his absence last season was a major blow to Liverpool's title defense. With the Euros coming up this summer, Van Dijk will be hoping to lead the Netherlands to glory and put his injury troubles behind him once and for all.
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