Liverpool’s players must “move on quickly” or risk “sinking” under the weight of Virgil van Dijk’s injury, according to one pundit.
The Reds will likely be without their best defender for the rest of the season, leaving a sizeable gap in the team.
Indeed last week’s injury leaves Liverpool short on recognised centre-backs. Joel Matip and Joe Gomez are Jurgen Klopp‘s options, although Matip has already suffered another problem.
And while Liverpool are yet to spend a significant amount of time without their leader, Steve Nicol says the rest of the players must blame his absence if poor form starts to emerge.
“They need to make sure they don’t use losing Van Dijk as a crutch,” the Liverpool legend told ESPN FC.
“If the players go around or the staff are always going, ‘Well, if we had Van Dijk or we had Alisson…’ – you can’t be like that. If you do that, you’re going to sink.
“Whenever you lose a player – regardless of who it is – you have to get rid of it, forget it and move on. If you don’t, then you will be in trouble.
“You can’t do that. After the game when he gets injured and you find out you say, ‘Okay, we’re going to miss him’ but then you move on.
“You don’t start – crying is probably not the right word, but you don’t start bringing these things up when you’re preparing for a game.”
‘Footballers look for an excuse’
Nicol added that, should the players hark back to their injury woes, Liverpool will inevitably suffer.
“That’s the professional way. The only way to do it. If you don’t, everybody is going to be looking for a crutch and an excuse.
“I tell you, footballers will look for a crutch and an excuse, I’ve seen it too many times.
“They had better move on quickly or else they will be sinking.”
Fabinho fills in for Klopp
Klopp enjoyed a glimpse of how Fabinho could be Liverpool’s answer to their problem on Wednesday.
The Brazil international played alongside Gomez in Matip’s absence and had a solid evening against Ajax.
Indeed the 26-year-old has revealed how a chat with Klopp before the game helped him to focus in Amsterdam.