By Frank McAvennie

24th Dec, 2020 | 5:00pm

'Massive Gamble' - Exclusive: Pundit reacts to huge Van Dijk-Liverpool update from Romano

Frank McAvennie has insisted it would be a “massive gamble” for Liverpool to offer Virgil Van Dijk a new contract after his serious injury blow.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, the ex-West Ham and Celtic striker raised his concerns over whether the Dutch star would return the same player he was before being ruled out with cruciate ligament damage.

As reported by journalist Fabrizio Romano on CBS Sports’ Que Golazo podcast, the Reds are set to table a new five-year contract to the 29-year-old despite his absence from the side.

There had been whispers of a miracle recovery for the Netherlands international, but Jurgen Klopp has since revealed to the Liverpool Echo that Van Dijk will not be featuring any time soon.

McAvennie has suggested Liverpool want to reward the centre-back for his performances and loyalty to the club but that a new deal would be a major risk considering how serious his injury was.

“It’s a massive gamble, it depends how he’s gonna come back,” McAvennie told Football Insider.

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“They’re loyal. I think it’s a loyalty bonus more than anything. He came in and changed the fortunes of the club, that’s for sure.”

“It’s great for the player [the contract]. I’ve got pity for him because he’s injured. There’s nothing worse than being injured and training by yourself.

“There’s people around you but you’re training yourself, every day you’re going to miss that banter… That’s not there now.”

Liverpool have not lost in the Premier League since Van Dijk’s injury and only suffered one defeat in all competitions – against Atalanta in the Champions League – since his blow.

Though they sit atop the league table, Liverpool have conceded the seventh-most goals in the Premier League.

In other news, A 25-year-old former Liverpool defender is set to sign for an EFL club after his career has stalled in recent years.