LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, May 14, 2022: Liverpool's (L-R) Joe Gomez, Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip celebrates with the trophy after the FA Cup Final between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Wembley Stadium. The game ended in a goal-less draw, Liverpool won 6-5 on penalties. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Virgil van Dijk hopeful of Champions League final fitness after “little twitch”

Virgil van Dijk has given an update on the calf injury that forced him off in the FA Cup, with the Liverpool defender hopeful he can play the Champions League final.

Van Dijk made his 50th start of the season in Saturday’s FA Cup final – his 58th for club and country – but for the first time in any of those games he needed to be brought off.

Having played every minute of the previous 57 fixtures, the Dutchman signalled for his substitution after 90 minutes at Wembley, with Joel Matip taking his place for extra time.

It is a marker of Van Dijk’s durability, particularly after a long-term knee injury, that he carried on after picking up a minor calf problem early in the first half against Chelsea.

But it also puts him in doubt for the final two games of the Premier League season – away to former club Southampton on Tuesday and then at home to Wolves next Sunday.

“Hopefully not,” he told beIN SPORTS when asked if it was anything to worry about.

“But after 20 minutes I felt a little twitch high up in my calf, I could sort of play on but I couldn’t fully sprint.

“I was aware of it, and in the end when they put faster strikers on you have to do what is right for the team and put Joel on.

“So that’s what I did.”

With Fabinho also sidelined with a hamstring injury and Mohamed Salah forced off early in the first half with a groin issue, with prospect of Van Dijk also being out is a major concern for Liverpool.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, May 14, 2022: Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk (L) and Chelsea's Christian Pulisic during the FA Cup Final between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Wembley Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Reds are still in with a slim chance of winning the Premier League, but with the title race out of their hands, the priority for the players seems to have shifted to the Champions League final.

That clash with Real Madrid on May 28 was clearly in Van Dijk’s mind as he was pressed further on the severity of his injury.

“Hopefully [it is not serious], but I can’t look in the body at the moment,” he continued.

“We’re going to have a look it [with a scan back in Liverpool].

“But we still have two weeks until the Champions League final, so we work hard towards that.

“In the meantime, we’ll see if I can make other games.”

Liverpool take on Southampton at St Mary’s on Tuesday night, with Matip now likely to partner either Ibrahima Konate or Joe Gomez at centre-back.