Virgil Van Dijk could return this week.
Virgil Van Dijk could return to action as early as Thursday after Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp seemingly had a change of heart.
Over the weekend, Klopp said that “it would be a surprise” if Van Dijk played in Thursday’s friendly against Hertha Berlin in Innsbruck but today he has issued a much more positive update.
Virgil Van Dijk “could play a few minutes” in Liverpool return.
Speaking to the official Liverpool website, Klopp said: “I hope, I am not sure, that there is the opportunity that Virgil could play a few minutes.
“He looks really good in training and maybe we can bring him in, but I need to have some final conversations. He looks ready and we will see.”
The Dutch defender hasn’t played since suffering an an anterior cruciate knee ligament in the Merseyside Derby against Everton last October, with Liverpool’s defence also being struck by long-term injuries to Joe Gomez and Joel Matip.
“Joey is very close,” Klopp said on the subject of Gomez’s expected return. “There is no race between the two of them; they had different injuries and stuff like this, but he is very close.
“If Virgil can play now 20 then probably Joey can in the game after. We will see. In training they both look really good.”
Liverpool preparations continue.
After the match against Hertha Berlin, Liverpool will leave their Austrian training camp ahead of two more pre-season friendlies at Anfield.
The Reds will host Athletic Bilbao on Sunday August 8th before playing Osasuna in what will be a memorial match for Ireland international Michael Robinson, who played for both Liverpool and Osasuna.
Jurgen Klopp showing patience with Virgil Van Dijk.
“I think from time to time there are some pictures of them from training sessions and everyone can see how good it looks, but there is no rush for us,” Klopp added of his returning defensive stars.
“It is not about they now need five pre-season games to be ready for the start or whatever. It is a long season and we prepare them after these very, very serious injuries for the rest of their careers and not for the first game of the season.”
Liverpool kick off their Premier League campaign away to Norwich City on August 14th.