Virgil van Dijk’s absence against Manchester City explained…

Why isn’t Virgil van Dijk playing against Manchester City?

Express Sport understands the £75million centre-back, who netted on his Liverpool debut in a 2-1 FA Cup win over Everton, has been ruled out with a tight hamstring.

It means Jurgen Klopp is poised to recall Dejan Lovren to the side to face league leaders City, who haven’t lost a game all season.

City haven’t won at Anfield for 15 years but they have never been in better form having cruised to a 15-point lead at the top of the Premier League.

They crushed the Reds 5-0 last time they met after Sadio Mane was sent off.

So where is Virgil van Dijk?

He remains with the Liverpool squad and is expected to be in the stands at Anfield for the match.

The Dutchman underwent tests with club doctors this morning where he was deemed too big a risk to play – especially so soon after his transfer.

What’s this about a bomb threat?

There was drama ahead of the game when police ordered a nine-metre gold statue of Van Dijk to be removed from Anfield amid fears of a bomb threat.

Workers arrived to erect a huge replica figure of Van Dijk at 4.30am this morning ahead of Liverpool’s clash with Manchester City as part of a Paddy Power stunt.

It was all supposed to be a good-natured gesture to suggest Van Dijk really was worth his weight in gold following his debut goal against Everton.

Anti-terror police first arrived at the scene shortly before 9am today as the Paddy Power plan backfired.

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They demanded to see safety paperwork and, when that was produced, they still feared there could be a bomb in the statue.

Isn’t there a Virgil van Dijk rumour?

There was a cringeworthy moment on Sky Sports this morning when Goals on Sunday host Ben Shephard asked Jamie Carragher how big an impact Van Dijk would have today.

He quickly responded: “”Sorry to tell you Ben I think he’s not playing.”

Asked why, Carragher said: “”These are the rumours going round Anfield anyway that I think Van Dijk may be missing out. It’s not confirmed but it’s something that’s spreading around on social media now. Fingers crossed it’s wrong.

“You would imagine it will be Matip and Lovren but he’s bought him not just for today but for the long term obviously. When you spend £75million on a centre-back you build the defence around him for the next five or six years. Unfortunately we think he may miss out today.”

Original Article

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