Liverpool: Liverpool centre back Virgil van Dijk has successfully undergone knee surgery after he damaged ligaments against Everton and manager Jurgen Klopp said on Friday that he is looking for solutions in defence with Fabinho also sidelined with injury.
Van Dijk was injured in the 2-2 draw earlier this month when he was at the receiving end of a reckless challenge by Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.
The club did not give a time-frame on his return, with the Dutch defender potentially ruled out for the rest of the season due to the nature of the injury.
“The surgery was successful, which is really good, the best news we could get,” Klopp said ahead of Saturday’s Premier League match against West Ham United.
“He’s as good as can be. It’s clear to say he’s a quick healer and a pain-coper.”
Midfielder Fabinho, who has been slotting into the back four in Van Dijk’s absence, suffered a hamstring injury against Midtjylland on Tuesday and is unavailable.
Rhys Williams, 19, replaced Fabinho for the last hour and Klopp said he could be an option along with Nathaniel Phillips and Billy Koumetio, who have both been training with the senior squad.
“I can say a lot about his progress in the last few weeks or months,” Klopp said of Williams. “He’s been exceptional, he was already a very good kid when he arrived here.
“I realised long ago that life is a challenge. This is a challenge 100 per cent. Problems are only there to find a solution for. I see the challenge in the situation and I see there’s opportunity.
“We play football games every three days so this will stay a challenge. We will deal with the situation and make the best of it.”
Liverpool skipper Jordan Henderson is fit, however, with Klopp saying he was withdrawn at half-time against Midtjylland in the Champions League to keep him fresh for the weekend.
“I can count the games he’s played and we have to try to get through the period,” Klopp added. “It is intense and hectic, like December but every month. So we have to make these decisions.”
Meanwhile, Chelsea’s new central defender Thiago Silva will return to the side for Saturday’s Premier League visit to Burnley having been rested in their Champions League win over FK Krasnodar in midweek, manager Frank Lampard said.
Brazilian Silva joined Chelsea on a free transfer from Paris St-Germain in the close season, and Lampard wants to carefully manage the amount of time the 36-year-old plays each week.
“Thiago is fit. Taking him out of Russia was a maintenance issue,” Lampard said. “He could have played if he had to but we had to put it in context of what is ahead of us. I’m making sure we get the best out of him towards the end of the season.”
Wolves v Crystal Palace, midnight
Sheffield United v Man City, 4.30pm
Burnley v Chelsea, 7pm
Liverpool v West Ham, 9.30pm
Aston Villa v Southampton, 4pm
Newcastle v Everton, 6pm
Man United v Arsenal, 8.30pm
Tottenham v Brighton, 11.15pm
Fulham v West Brom, 9.30pm
Leeds v Leicester, midnight