Southampton face an anxious wait to discover whether or not Virgil van Dijk will be fit to line up against Liverpool in Wednesday night's (25 January) EFL Cup semi-final second-leg clash at Anfield. The influential and much sought after centre-back limped off in the 55th minute of an emphatic 3-0 Premier League victory over Leicester City yesterday after suffering an ankle injury.
Saints boss Claude Puel remained coy on the issue afterwards, revealing that it was a "big kick", and insisting that he did not know if the highly-rated former Groningen and Celtic defender, who captained Southampton following the recent sale of Jose Fonte, would recover in time to face Liverpool.
Updating reporters on Van Dijk's fitness during a pre-match press conference held on Monday, Puel said: "Van Dijk, he is having a scan and I am waiting for the results at the moment. It was a good kick on his ankle, and he could not continue in the game yesterday.
"It's not serious, but I don't know if he can participate in this game. We will see in the next days before the game."
Club skipper Steven Davis has not featured for Southampton since sustaining an unspecified knock in that narrow first-leg win over Liverpool on 11 January, missing league games against Leicester and Burnley as well as the FA Cup third-round replay win over Norwich City.
"It's better for Davis," an optimistic Puel said. "We will see tomorrow in the training session if he can participate in this game or not."
None of Southampton's other injured players — a long list comprising Sofiane Boufal, Charlie Austin, Alex McCarthy, Matt Targett, Jeremy Pied and Jake Hesketh — are yet ready to return.
Asked if he will select a strong XI to face Liverpool, Puel added: "We will start with a good team, like every game. We have some problems with injuries and don't know the result at the moment with Davis and Virgil. We will have a good team and a strong team."
Speaking on Fonte's £8m ($9.9m) departure to West Ham United, the Frenchman insisted that Southampton would scour the market for potential defensive replacements during the final eight days of the January transfer window.
"It was important for Jose Fonte to find a solution for him. I wish him all the best. He was a good captain for Southampton. It's normal to look for possibilities to replace Jose. We will see if there is an opportunity."
According to The Mail, Puel simply replied "no comment" when asked if he was trying to sign Phil Jagielka. The experienced Everton captain, now seemingly surplus to requirements after 10 years at Goodison Park, has also been linked with the likes of West Ham, Swansea City and Sunderland.