Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk has revealed that a knee injury was behind his substitution in the FA Cup final victory over Chelsea.
The Dutchman began the Wembley encounter alongside Ibrahima Konate and kept out the Blues’ attack for 90 minutes before being taken off for Joel Matip.
Even without Van Dijk on the field, the quadruple-chasing Reds did not allow Chelsea a sniff in a lacklustre extra time period as the two sides went to penalties for the second time this season.
Kostas Tsimikas stepped up to convert the crucial penalty for the Reds to seal a domestic cup double, but fears then turned to a plethora of injuries to key players for Jurgen Klopp.
However, Van Dijk sought to play down the issue as “a little twinge” as Liverpool continue to chase an unprecedented quadruple in the latter stages of the season.
“We’re going to check it out. I felt in the first half when I did a sprint in the channel after 20 minutes or something, I felt a little twinge behind my knee,” Van Dijk told ITV Sport after the game.
“I played on, but in the end I thought ‘if they put quite fast strikers in’, I can’t risk it for the team and I need to trust in Joel [Matip] in this case. Hopefully it will be fine and positive mindset.”
Van Dijk was not the only enforced withdrawal on Liverpool’s end, as Mohamed Salah went down with just 33 minutes on the clock and had to be replaced by Diogo Jota.
While the quick turnaround means that Salah may not be risked for the impending Premier League battle with Southampton, Klopp does not expect the attacker to miss the trip to Paris.
“We had to change Mo early but it was a precaution move. He said he felt something but could carry on,” Klopp told the press.
“I have spoken to both already. Both are really Ok, it’s not a big thing but we play the next game on Tuesday. They might be fine but I would be surprised. The best physiotherapy is winning football games.”
Andy Robertson was also taken off with cramp in the contest, so Tsimikas can expect to be one of a few alterations at St Mary’s for the clash with Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side.
Meanwhile, the hamstring injury that kept Fabinho out of the FA Cup final will not let up in time for Tuesday, but Klopp has already confirmed that the Brazilian should return for the clash with Real Madrid.