LONDON: Liverpool have been a dealt a huge blow with news that centre back Virgil van Dijk needs surgery on damaged knee ligaments sustained in Saturday’s Merseyside derby draw against Everton. The Premier League champions confirmed on Monday that the Dutchman, ever-present in the league for the last two seasons, would need an operation, although they did not say how long he would likely be missing. Van Dijk was substituted early in the game when Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford made a reckless challenge in the box, which left Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp fuming. “Liverpool can confirm Virgil van Dijk will undergo surgery on the knee injury he sustained during Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Everton,” the club said in a statement. “The centre back damaged knee ligaments following an incident involving Blues goalkeeper Jordan Pickford after six minutes at Goodison Park.” Van Dijk has reportedly damaged cruciate ligaments, an injury that normally requires months of recovery, potentially ruling him out for the rest of the season while also dealing a blow to the Netherlands ahead of the Euros next year. Van Dijk was bought for £75 million ($96.85 million).