Former Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur striker Dimitar Berbatov has claimed Virgil van Dijk 's knee injury could cost Liverpool the Premier League title this season.

Van Dijk is facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines and could miss the rest of the season after suffering an ACL injury after a challenge from Jordan Pickford in the Merseyside derby.

He is set to have surgery on the injury and Liverpool are hopeful he could still feature this season but they will have to wait and see how the operation and Van Dijk's subsequent rehabilitation goes.

The absence of the Dutch defender will be a big blow to the Reds and Berbatov believes it will have a major impact on their attempt to retain the league title.

Dimitar Berbatov believes Virgil van Dijk's knee injury could cost Liverpool back-to-back Premier League titles

Speaking to Betfair, Berbatov said: "Speaking of injury, Virgil van Dijk's injury is a title-costing blow for Liverpool in my opinion. He is just so important to them.

"It was a bad tackle on him, that's all I can say. It's more of a striker's injury, and it's one of the worst you can get as a player. Hopefully he can come back as soon as possible, and be as good as ever.

Van Dijk suffered the injury after a challenge from Jordan Pickford in the Merseyside derby

"No team will want to win the league just because van Dijk is injured, but at the same time bad news for one team is good news for another, and they will know that Liverpool aren't as strong without him.

"If you consider football as a war, you want your opponent to be weaker, and that is Liverpool without van Dijk. They have looked shaky at the back at times this season, and this won't help that."

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Liverpool star Georginio Wijnaldum has labelled the challenge "completely stupid", saying: "Of course we are upset. The way Pickford went in on the challenge was, in my opinion, completely stupid.

"I believe he didn't want to injure Virgil the way he injured him but the way he took the tackle basically he didn't care about what happened after the tackle."