Jürgen Klopp gave some details on Liverpool’s plans for Thursday, including some great news regarding Virgil van Dijk’s rehabilitation.
The Reds face Hertha BSC in another pre-season clash in Innsbruck, Austria, on Thursday. Klopp is hoping that Van Dijk can play his first minutes for the first team since last October.
Speaking to Liverpoolfc.com about Van Dijk and Joe Gomez, the Liverpool boss confirmed that the Dutch international could play against Hertha. He also mentioned that Gomez is “very close” and may possibly feature in Liverpool’s later pre-season friendlies in August.
“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.
“If you see the games now as part of their rehab training, that makes sense.
“Joey is very close. 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.
“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. 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.
“Losing a little bit of patience for them to return as a supporter or as a coach even is not bad, it just means they were pretty good and we want them to be back in the team.”
It looks increasingly likely that Liverpool’s centre-back pairing to start the Premier League season will be Ibrahima Konaté and Joël Matip, injuries permitting. Even when Van Dijk and Gomez are able to play a part again, it will take quite a few weeks to get back to full match fitness so don’t expect them to be pushing for a starting place until September, maybe.
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