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Liverpool's title odds massively on the drift following Virgil van Dijk's injury news

Virgil van Dijk will likely miss the rest of the season after sustaining a serious knee injury against Everton
Virgil van Dijk will likely miss the rest of the season after sustaining a serious knee injury against Everton

Liverpool's title hopes have suffered a massive blow

Liverpool have suffered one of the biggest blows imaginable in their quest to obtain back-to-back league titles this season. Influential defender Virgil van Dijk is now likely to miss the remainder of the campaign after rupturing his ACL in Saturday's Merseyside derby at Goodison Park, which now sees the Reds slip back behind Manchester City to second-favourites in the Premier League winner betting market. 

The Netherlands international sustained the injury following a collision with Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, who rushed out of his goal to stop the defender getting a header away at the back post from a free-kick. What is most frustrating about this entire situation for Liverpool and van Dijk is the fact that he was offside at the time, so any goal he may have scored or created wouldn't have counted anyway.

This also meant that Pickford escaped a sending off and a retrospective ban from the Premier League - something the England stopper should count himself extremely lucky for considering the magnitude of the challenge.

Before the Merseyside derby

Prior to Saturday's game, Liverpool were solid favourites for the title at 11/8 (William Hill). Despite the Reds winning the Premier League last season in emphatic style, Manchester City actually began the campaign as odd-on favourites in the market but after a slow start from the Cityzens, Jurgen Klopp's side leapfrogged them and remained the shortest price to lift the trophy, even after their 7-2 drilling away at Aston Villa before the international break.

Today's football tips

So, heading into the derby on Saturday, Liverpool were the bookmaker favourites in the title race, and when Sadio Mane opened the scoring inside the first three minutes, the Reds' previous performance in the West Midlands looked to be nothing but a hugely bizarre blip in their quest for a second consecutive league triumph.   

After the Merseyside derby

Things didn't quite go to plan, though. Everton have started the season incredibly brightly and still find themselves top of the table and unbeaten after five games.

Their fightback against Liverpool - who lost van Dijk to what we now know to be a season-ending injury early on in the first-half - was admirable, with man of the moment Dominic Calvert-Lewin providing the Toffees' equaliser inside the final 10 minutes of the game, which keeps him level at the top of the scoring charts alongside Tottenham's Son Heung-min (seven goals apiece).

Liverpool's title odds after the derby drifted to 7/5, the longest they've been all season, with bookmaker William Hill giving them an implied 41% chance of winning the league.

Before VVD injury was confirmed

Following the game Liverpool's title odds drifted further to 5/2, but nobody quite knew the extent of van Dijk's injury. Media outlet beIN SPORTS reported that the 29-year-old had indeed ruptured his ACL - which many people thought initially upon watching the replays from several different angles - though nothing had been officially confirmed as VVD awaited results from his scan. 

The Reds' implied percentage chance of lifting the trophy, according to the bookmaker odds, had now fallen to just 28% - almost half from their percentage chance before the weekend.

After VVD injury was confirmed (currently)

Not long after speculation rung true across social media, the news everybody connected with Liverpool Football Club were fearing most was confirmed. Van Dijk's injury was a severe one; he had ruptured his Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) and will now be sidelined for a minimum of six-eight months, potentially longer, which effectively rules him out for the rest of the season.

The Reds' price in the PL winner betting market has now reverted back to their original ante-post price of 9/4 - an implied probability of 30%. Those odds have slightly shortened from 5/2 though, albeit very marginally, with Manchester City once again now the firm bookies favourites at 5/6 (54%), which was helped by Pep Guardiola's side narrowly beating Arsenal 1-0 in Saturday's late kick-off and Liverpool only mustering a draw against Everton.

With an extremely tricky run-in approaching between now and December - which features matches against the likes of an in-form West Ham, title-rivals Man City, Leicester and Wolves - Liverpool will have to step up their game to ensure they don't fall behind any further.

We saw a similar thing last season with Manchester City, they massively struggled without Aymeric Laporte holding the back line together after the Frenchman suffered a similar knee injury at the start of last season which kept him out until January. Laporte is just as important to City as Van Dijk is to Liverpool and as soon as a team loses that type of player it has a huge affect, which last season resulted in City losing the title race early on.

Jurgen Klopp will know all too well just how easy it is to start falling behind, and can use City's problems last season as a learning curve, but it certainly won't be easy without his talismanic rock at the back. One thing it has done is blown the race for the title wide open, which can only be viewed as a benefit for the neutral.

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Premier League winner odds

Manchester City
WIN PROB: 51%
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5/6
Chelsea
WIN PROB: 26%
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9/4
Liverpool
WIN PROB: 17%
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4/1
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4/1
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7/2
Manchester United
WIN PROB: 3%
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Arsenal
WIN PROB: 1%
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Tottenham
WIN PROB: 0%
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Everton
WIN PROB: 0%
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West Ham United
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Brighton
WIN PROB: 0%
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Leicester
WIN PROB: 0%
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Aston Villa
WIN PROB: 0%
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Wolverhampton
WIN PROB: 0%
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Leeds
WIN PROB: 0%
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Brentford
WIN PROB: 0%
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Southampton
WIN PROB: 0%
1
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Burnley
WIN PROB: 0%
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Crystal Palace
WIN PROB: 0%
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Newcastle United
WIN PROB: 0%
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Watford
WIN PROB: 0%
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Norwich
WIN PROB: 0%
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Odds correct as of 2021-10-16 17:06 Odds subject to change.
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