Virgil van Dijk has vowed to come back better than ever before after Liverpool confirmed the defender needs knee ligament surgery following his injury at Everton.
The centre-back collided with Toffees goalkeeper Jordan Pickford just six minutes into the Merseyside Derby on Saturday afternoon, though the England shot stopper was not punished for what looked like a reckless challenge.
In a statement on Sunday, the Premier League champions did not set a return date for van Dijk, though it is feared the centre-back could be ruled out for most of the current season.
In a statement on social media, the Dutchman said: 'This afternoon I met with a leading consultant to start the process of planning the finer details of my rehabilitation following the incident (on Saturday).
'I’m now fully focussed (sic) on my recovery and will do everything I can to be back as quickly as possible.
'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 than ever before.'
Van Dijk has been a pivotal player in Liverpool's rise under Jurgen Klopp and was ever-present for the Reds as they won their first Premier League title in 30 years last season.
The Dutchman, who won the PFA Player of the Year Award in 2019, has not missed a minute of Premier League football in over a year but is set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines following this setback.
The defender revealed he will support his team-mates in their Premier League title defence until he can return to the pitch again.
The statement continued: 'In football, as in life, I believe everything happens for a reason and it’s important to try and keep level headed whether going through the highs and lows.
'With the support of my wife, kids, family and everyone at Liverpool, I’m ready for the challenge ahead.
'I’d like to thank everyone for the messages of support, it’s meant a huge amount to me and my family and I’ll now be doing everything possible to support my teammates in any way I can ahead of a big weeks ahead as I take my own recovery day by day. I’ll be back.'
Liverpool players were quick to send messages to the centre-back on social media after the news on social media was announced.
Reds captain Jordan Henderson posted on Instagram: 'The comeback is always stronger than the set back... recover well my brother, we'll be waiting for you #YNWA'
Liverpool forward Mohammed Salah also wished van Dijk a 'speedy recovery', while injury-prone Everton midfielder Yannick Bolasie also tweeted sympathy towards the Dutch defender.
The winger said: 'I love banter/rivalry at the best of times that’s what football is all about but moments like these we have to set all aside & never wish badness on anyone.
'I’ve been through this myself so I know how he must be feeling right now...Wishing you a speedy recovery @VirgilvDijk.'