One of the biggest surprises upon the release of Liverpool’s teamsheet at 7pm was the absence of Van Dijk from the 20-man squad.
The Dutchman misses out due to illness, having not travelled to London after feeling unwell in the buildup this week.
Nat Phillips takes his place, named on the bench after a month-and-a-half break.
Harvey Elliott is also not in the squad for the first time this season, with no explanation yet for the midfielder’s absence, which falls on his 20th birthday.
Van Dijk has been in shaky form throughout the season, with the centre-back coming in for increasing criticism both in England and his native Netherlands.
“If you’re losing the way we lost, then definitely there will be some hard talking,” he told journalists.
“That’s really normal. We’re grown men.”