The former Reds defender believes his old side are in danger of ‘sinking’ if they dwell too long on their missing star man, who faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines after a horror challenge from Jordan Pickford.
Van Dijk’s injury dominated the buildup to Liverpool’s 1-0 Champions League win over Ajax, with midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum claiming the squad was ‘devastated’ and ‘didn’t sleep’ after losing the Dutch international.
Klopp admitted the injury was ‘difficult to accept’ but Nicol thinks it’s time for the group to put the incident and the injury in the past or else Liverpool could find their high standards slipping.
‘They need to make sure they don’t use losing Van Dijk as a crutch,’ he told ESPN.
‘If the players go around or the staff are always going, “Well, if we had Van Dijk or we had Alisson…” – you can’t be like that. If you do that, you’re going to sink.
‘Whenever you lose a player – regardless of who it is – you have to get rid of it, forget it and move on. If you don’t, then you will be in trouble.
‘You can’t do that. After the game when he gets injured and you find out you say, “Okay, we’re going to miss him” but then you move on. You don’t start – crying is probably not the right word, but you don’t start bringing these things up when you’re preparing for a game.
‘That’s the professional way. The only way to do it. If you don’t, everybody is going to be looking for a crutch and an excuse. I tell you, footballers will look for a crutch and an excuse, I’ve seen it too many times.
‘They had better move on quickly or else they will be sinking.’