Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has played down the injury sustained by centre-back Virgil van Dijk during the 3-0 victory over Southampton.

The formidable defender, who has improved his club's fortunes massively this season, was forced off in the second half of Liverpool's home victory over van Dijk's former club Southampton. It was a worrying sign for the Reds as they lost their most influential leader 55 minutes into the game, with the home side already cruising at 3-0.

Liverpool centre-back Virgil van Dijk injury update

In his pre-match press conference, Klopp explained that 'He is much better. It is still a bit painful, nothing else.'

'Painful is already not too cool, so we will see how we deal with that.

But it’s already better. How we thought after the game, it’s not too serious, but it ’s not anything.'

Liverpool cannot afford to lose star man

While the deadly trio of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, and Sadio Mane have been firing on all cylinders this campaign, the Dutch international has guided Liverpool to four clean sheets from their six victories in the Premier League this season, proving just how vital he has been to their immediate success.

With new signing Allison Becker directly behind in him, van Dijk has cemented his status as one of the best centre-backs in the world. Liverpool, therefore, cannot afford to have their towering defender missing when they host Chelsea [VIDEO] in the Carabao Cup Third Round, before travelling to Stamford Bridge to face the same opposition in the league just three days later.

Liverpool manager explains the nature of van Dijk injury

German manager Klopp will certainly be keeping a close eye on van Dijk, and has explained that the number four had to be taken off early in the meeting with Southampton after sustaining a further knock to an already existing rib injury suffered earlier in the season.

While they have had huge success so far in the campaign, both in the league and in their stunning Champions League victory [VIDEO] over Paris Saint-Germain, Liverpool now begin a daunting couple of weeks ahead, beginning with the challenging double-header with Chelsea, before travelling to Napoli in the Champions League group stages, with a league encounter against champions Manchester City then thrown in for good measure.

With the nature of the first fixture against the Blues, Liverpool look set to ring in the changes in order to both provide those in the fringes with more game time, and perhaps, more importantly, to rest the regular starters for the more significant league fixture on Saturday evening.