Virgil van Dijk’s recovery from knee ligament damage looks to be “really promising”, says former Reds physio Dave Galley, but the Premier League champions have been told it is still too early to put a possible date on the defender’s return to action.
The commanding Netherlands international centre-half has been out of action since suffering an injury during a Merseyside derby date with Everton on October 17, 2020.
Van Dijk has been forced under the knife since then and started out on a long road to recovery.
That process is starting to gather pace, with the 29-year-old spending time with Clarence Seedorf in Dubai and being pictured in the gym with UFC superstar Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Galley, who has spoken with the Dutchman, sees encouraging signs for Liverpool, but he is reluctant to speculate on whether Van Dijk will return to Jurgen Klopp’s plans this season.
“I don’t know what is possible, and I don’t think I am the right person to judge it,” Galley, who was head physio at Anfield between 2001 and 2005, told the Liverpool Echo.
“He looks really good. I spoke to him this morning on the phone, and he is in a really good mood. It’s all very promising, but I don’t know when he will be back.
“For sure there are still a lot of stages to go and to clear. I had this injury myself, so I know.
“But for the time we are in, and for how long he is out now, and the rehabilitation, he looks really, really promising.”
Van Dijk is expected to make a full recovery and pick up where he left off on Merseyside, but Galley has warned that knee problems can flare up again further down the line for those who continue to push their bodies to breaking point.
He added: “The ACL injury is an injury that has been around a long time but a few years ago it was that if you tore your ACL, that was it and you were finished.
“Initially, it meant a trip to Richard Steadman over in the States but slowly, more and more surgeons in this country have taken up the mantle doing the same operation.
“ACL injuries are getting more and more prevalent these days but the surgery is getting better and better.
“Eight to nine months is right for a player to have a decent recovery and a lot of players will recover in that timescale.
“But it is the following 12-18 months where you can get a recurrence and that is where you need to get the leg as strong as possible in every aspect.”