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Liverpool star defender Virgil van Dijk will undergo surgery to fix damaged knee ligaments, the club announced Sunday. The Dutch international reportedly tore his ACL after a nasty, controversial challenge by Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford on Saturday. The star was ruled offside as he attempted to get a touch on a dangerous ball in the box when Pickford came out and crashed into his legs. 

Van Dijk was able to walk off the pitch but his ACL is torn, according to beIN Sports.

Van Dijk will begin a rehabilitation program with the club's medical team after surgery. Reds manager Jurgen Klopp spoke after Saturday's 2-2 draw at Goodison Park and was very concerned with his ironman defender. 

 "I don't know [how serious it is], I don't know, but it is not good," Klopp said. "Virgil played for us I don't know how many games in a row. He plays with pain, he plays with pretty much everything, but he couldn't play on. That's not good."

Saturday marked the first time van Dijk has missed a minute of a Premier League match since he was subbed out of a September 2018 match against Southampton. Before the Pickford challenge, he had played every minute of Liverpool's previous 74 league matches.

Not having him would be a huge blow to their title chances this season. The reigning Premier League champs are also just two seasons removed from winning the Champions League and look like contenders once again. This injury likely means Joel Matip and Joe Gomez will be the starting center backs moving forward.

Liverpool begin their UEFA Champions League campaign against Ajax on Wednesday (on CBS All Access) and face Sheffield United next weekend in the Premier League.