Liverpool’s ambitions of retaining the league title they sauntered to for the first time in three decades just a few months ago have been dealt a hammer blow with the news that rearguard general Virgil Van Dijk is facing a lengthy layoff due to a knee injury sustained following a horror tackle by Everton and England custodian Jordan Pickford.
Jurgen Klopp’s side – who didn’t lose a league game last season until after they’d the trophy well tucked away, were already reeling following a 6-1 thrashing by a resurgent Aston Villa before the international break and Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s dramatic stoppage time leveller plus the injury to the Dutch defending collosus certainly dilutes the air of the untouchable around the Anfield army.
The question, though, is which, if any, of the others have the capability of taking advantage of Liverpool’s travails? Despite looking a pale shadow of what they once were, that still probably falls upon Manchester City as their are more holes in the credentials of some of the others than on a golf course.
Liverpool now find themselves facing a similar situation to that which befell Manchester United after Eric Cantona’s misadventure against Crystal Palace a quarter century ago.
Gut feeling is to reckon Klopp’s crew are better equipped to cope than were their arch rivals back then, but only time will tell.