Virgil van Dijk ‘set to be offered a new FIVE-YEAR deal by Liverpool in January as Jurgen Klopp wants the Dutchman’s long-term future at the club to be protected’… despite centre back missing the rest of the season due to knee injury
- Virgil van Dijk suffered a season-ending knee injury against Everton in October
- But manager Jurgen Klopp is keen to protect the Dutchman’s long-term future
- Liverpool are therefore preparing for talks with Van Dijk over a new contract
- His current deal expires in 2023 but the Reds are looking at a five-year extension
Liverpool are reportedly ready to begin talks with Virgil van Dijk over a new five-year contract in the new year.
The talismanic centre back, who suffered a season-ending knee injury against Everton in the Merseyside Derby on October 17, currently has a deal which expires in 2023.
But manager Jurgen Klopp wants to protect the 29-year-old’s long-term future at the club so work is in the pipeline to make a proposal to Van Dijk’s representatives in January, according to CBS Sports.
Virgil van Dijk is set to be offered a new five-year deal in the new year to stay at Liverpool
The centre back suffered a serious season-ending knee injury against Everton on October 17
The report adds that the Dutchman himself is keen to stay on Merseyside, after a trophy-laden three years since his arrival for £75m from Southampton in January 2018.
Since then, Van Dijk has progressed into one of the most reliable and impressive centre backs in world football and was a key part of Klopp’s team which won the 2018-19 Champions League and the 2019-20 Premier League.
Van Dijk also picked up individual honours, as he was named the PFA Player of the Year in 2019 and the 2018-19 UEFA Men’s Player of the Year – and narrowly missed out on the 2019 Ballon d’Or to Lionel Messi.
However, the Reds will have to target success without the Holland captain this season, after Jordan Pickford’s challenge early on in the Merseyside Derby resulted in a serious ACL injury.
Jurgen Klopp is keen to protect Van Dijk’s long-term future at the club despite his injury
Van Dijk (right) was an integral part of the side which won the Premier League last season
He is expected to miss the rest of the season, though he has had successful surgery on his right knee.
The centre back was spotted on the bench again supporting his team-mates 10 days ago, when Gini Wijnaldum celebrated his goal in the 4-0 win against Wolves in front of his compatriot.
Yet Van Dijk looks unlikely to be on the sidelines in support on Wednesday night against Tottenham, as he was in Dubai overnight with famous chef Nusret Gokce, known as Salt Bae.
Klopp recently downplayed suggestions that Van Dijk could make a comeback before the end of the season, saying: ‘Virgil is a very positive person and since he overcame the shock of the actual injury, he is in a really good mood and working hard to get back.
The 29-year-old was recently on the touchline supporting his team-mates against Wolves
The Liverpool centre back poses alongside famous chef Salt Bae on Tuesday night in Dubai
‘But this is a very long, long-term injury so it was still, I have to say, a crazy challenge which I still don’t understand. I don’t think about it, but you ask me and it comes up.’
With Joe Gomez also picking up a long-term injury whilst on England duty in November, Liverpool are heavily reliant on the fitness of Joel Matip, as well as defensive midfielder Fabinho slotting in at the back.
Youngsters Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams have also filled in at various periods for Jurgen Klopp’s side in recent weeks.