Wolves are missing their 'own Virgil van Dijk' ahead of Liverpool Premier League clash

  Virgil van Dijk has been missing for Liverpool through injury since the Merseyside derby on October 17 Liverpool have sorely missed Virgil...

 

Virgil van Dijk has been missing for Liverpool through injury since the Merseyside derby on October 17

Liverpool have sorely missed Virgil van Dijk this season and their injury list has been considerably longer than any other club in the Premier League, but the view from Wolves is that one of their absentees has had an even greater consequence on their season.

Raul Jiminez has been out of action since fracturing his skull against Arsenal in November, and Wolves have scored just 17 times in their 18 league matches since.

Van Dijk, meanwhile, has been missing since mid-October with Liverpool having since plummeted to eighth.

"[Jiminez's absence] has been at least as important, if not more important [as any of the Liverpool players]," said Birmingham Live's Wolves reporter Alex Dicken on the Behind Enemy Lines podcast.

"Liverpool have got world-class players and they were able to survive for a bit when Van Dijk was out, but Wolves have been an absolute shadow of themselves without Jimenez.

"They left themselves short because they went into the season only with an 18-year-old rookie in Fabio Silva and tried to address that in January with Willian Jose coming in.

"But there is just no way for Wolves to replace Jimenez - they have not got the money or the resources to replace a player who would walk into most teams in Europe.

"For me personally, I would put him in the top-10 most complete strikers in Europe, so that is how big a miss he is.

"He is by far and away their best player and their most important player, and the only player who has regularly contributed to goals and assists in the last two seasons.

"He has been phenomenal in a team that does not score a lot of goals in general, and he would have been in line for a massive summer transfer had he not got injured.

"There is no worse player Wolves could have gone this length of time without - he is way more important than everyone else, 100 per cent.

"If Wolves had Jiminez for this game, I’d put them as favourites given the way that Liverpool are playing."

The hope is that Jiminez could return to action before the end of the season, with Wolves' final match of the Premier League campaign against Manchester United on May 23 earmarked as one possible return date.

He will certainly not be anywhere close to competitive action for another couple of months, though, as the club take their time with his return to contact training first, and then continue to assess the Mexican.

"Nuno has said twice that he could potentially return this season but it is still only three months since that horrific head injury happened," Dicken added.

"He has been improving steadily behind the scenes and he is now at a point where he is doing some sessions, but not contact training just yet.

"It seems crazy that we are even talking about it, but it is hoped that he could play again before the end of this season."



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