Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk ’s potentially season-ending injury could actually be worse than first feared, according to reports.

Van Dijk, 29, hobbled off injured during the Reds’ 2-2 draw away at Everton last Saturday, having shipped a heavy challenge from Toffees goalkeeper Jordan Pickford at Goodison Park.

Early signs appeared to suggest the Dutchman could spend up to eight months on the sidelines with an ACL injury, coming as a major blow to Jurgen Klopp and his Premier League champions.

But according to The Athletic’s David Ornstein, Van Dijk’s problem could even extend beyond the ACL and leave him out of action for a longer period than expected.

Virgil van Dijk sustained a horror ACL injury in Liverpool's 2-2 draw away at Everton from this Jordan Pickford challenge

Speaking on his ‘Ask Ornstein’ feature on YouTube, Ornstein claimed the latest revelation suggests “we won’t see Van Dijk on a pitch until next season” in a shattering update for Liverpool fans.

The centre-back is now set to undergo surgery on his knee, although it is unclear when that procedure will go ahead.

Early signs suggested the Dutchman was set to spend eight months out, but his injury could actually be worse than first feared

He has proved instrumental in the club’s Premier League and Champions League success over the past two seasons, meaning Klopp will almost certainly need to dip into the January transfer window to find a suitable replacement.

Reports suggest Brighton star Ben White is on the Reds’ radar, having scored ‘excellent data metrics’ on the tracking tools at Anfield.

Jurgen Klopp will need to sign a replacement in January, with Brighton's Ben White reportedly on his radar

Nevertheless, Klopp was left seething after Pickford escaped punishment for his challenge on Van Dijk over the weekend, saying ahead of their Champions League clash with Ajax tonight: “A few days ago something that should not have happened in a football game, happened.

“It was not the first time and it won't be the last, but both challenges were difficult to accept.

Klopp was left furious after Pickford escaped punishment for his challenge on Van Dijk

Get the latest transfer news straight into your inbox!

Want to be on the ball with all of the latest football news?

Well then sign up for the brilliant new Daily Star Sport email newsletter!

From the latest transfer news to the agenda-setting stories, get it all in your email inbox.

How do you sign up?

It only takes a matter of seconds.

Simply type your email address into the box at the top of this article and hit 'subscribe'.

And that's it, job done. You'll receive an email with all of the top news stories every single morning.

You can find out more information on our email newsletter on this link here.

“We can't change this now. I spoke the day after and it's hard for us as Virgil is our boy. It is difficult to take because the referee doesn't see it.

“Michael Oliver is an excellent referee but he had the best view. Then VAR forgets the rules. As a human, I don't want to see Everton players punished, but we all agree if you do something wrong, you have to deal with consequences.”