Virgil van Dijk.

A giant gold statue of Virgil van Dijk outside Anfield has been removed

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If Liverpool are to have any chance of beating Manchester City this afternoon, they'll have to do it without Virgil van Dijk.

The heroic Dutchman's dream start to life on Merseyside has been interrupted by a tight hamstring, a little over a week on from scoring the winning goal in his debut against Everton.

It's his exploits at the other end of the pitch that Reds fans will have been most looking forward to seeing against the champions-elect, who have scored an average of nearly three goals a game this season.

Jurgen Klopp's woes at the back are the reason why the club broke the world record transfer fee for a defender, shelling out £75million to bring in the 26-year-old from Southampton.

So, unsurprisingly, the news that he's unfit to face Pep Guardiola's men hasn't gone down well with the Anfield faithful. In his place, Dejan Lovren is likely to come into the starting XI - say no more.

However, spare a thought for the architects of a nine-metre, golden statue of the centre-back, which was put up outside the stadium in the early hours of this morning.

It comes as little surprise that the jokers at Paddy Power were behind the stunt, explaining they wanted to show what £75m in gold looks like. Check it out:

If you thought spending £75m on a footballer was grotesque in the first place, then this really is something to behold.

Nonetheless, just like his move from St Mary's was a little stop-start after the Saints made a formal complaint about Liverpool tapping him up, it wasn't too long before a spanner was thrown in the works.

It was immediately taken down

The Liverpool Echo report that the police insisted the monstrosity had to be taken down, though they haven't yet confirmed why.

The Express claim it was the decision of anti-terror forces, who were concerned it represented a bomb threat, information which hasn't been confirmed.

Liverpool v Everton - The Emirates FA Cup Third Round

All in all, it's safe to say it's backfired.

Liverpool fans have little time to think of VVD as they prepare to host City with essentially the back four they had before his arrival, and in their first league game post-Philippe Coutinho.

It could be a very long afternoon indeed.

Is Van Dijk worth £75million? Have your say in the comments.

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