Van Dijk vows to come back stronger from knee surgery

Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk has vowed to return stronger after learning he will need surgery on his knee.

The Dutchman suffered an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury after a reckless challenge from Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford in their Premier League clash on Saturday.

In a statement on his social media feed, Van Dijk said he had met with a consultant and would return from surgery as soon as he can.

"I'm now fully focused on my recovery and will do everything I can to be back as soon as possible," he said.

"Despite the obvious disappointment, I'm a firm believer that within difficulty lies opportunity, and with God's help I'm going to make sure I return better, fitter and stronger than ever before.

"In football, as in life, I think everything happens for a reason and it's important to try and keep level-headed whether going through the highs and lows."

Pickford escaped punishment for the tackle because it happened after Van Dijk was adjudged to have been offside.

Liverpool have asked the Premier League to review the use of the video assistant referee in the incident.

Champions Liverpool are third with 10 points from five games after Saturday's 2-2 derby draw at Goodison Park. Everton top the table on 13, one more than Aston Villa who have a game in hand.

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