Jurgen Klopp has given an update on the fitness of Liverpool quartet Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Joel Matip and Trent Alexander-Arnold as they work their way back to full fitness.
The absence of Van Dijk, Gomez and Matip last season contributed to Liverpool’s struggles in the Premier League. Alexander-Arnold’s injury came playing after the season had finished playing for England in a Euro 2020 warm-up match last month.
Klopp has been positive in his assessment of where the injured quarter are, but they all look unlikely to be fit for the start of the season,
The Reds kick off their season on August 14 away at Norwich and none of Van Dijk, Gomez, Matip and Alexander-Arnold look set to feature at Carrow Road.
Van Dijk has been out since last October, when he suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury after a challenge from Everton keeper Jordan Pickford.
Fellow centre-back Gomez picked up a serious knee injury soon after his Dutch team-mate and both needed surgery.
To make matters worse for Klopp, who drafted in Ozan Kabak on loan in the winter transfer window, Joel Matip was also seriously injured at the end of January.
Matip picked up an ankle ligament injury, which ruled him out for the remainder of the season.
All four are now on the mend, but still remain weeks away from returning to full training.
Asked whether they were close to full fitness, Klopp told the Liverpool official website: “No, they aren’t [at the same level as the others], but it’s different.
“Let’s start with: all four look really good, I have to say. [They] look really good.
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“Now we are in constant talks with the medical department, the fitness department, the rehab department about what is right for them today. Do they have to do maybe a little bit more than the rest of the group, do they have to do a little bit less?
“So, especially Virg and Joe will not have double sessions now for the first few days with the team. They have a second session of the day but it’s with Andreas Schlumberger, with the rehab department, physiotherapy, these kinds of things. That’s for these two.
“[They] look really good. I don’t know exactly when we can make the next steps. But it will happen in the next four weeks, for sure – we will get a big step forward.
“Joel looks good, absolutely, he is the closest probably to normal training. Then we will see when we get him started for playing.
“Trent was a serious enough injury but now not a major one, I would say. He is close but in the moment, probably the next five or six days he has a special programme: from time to time with the team, probably from time to time by himself.
“But then in five or six or seven days he should be in normal team training.”
Academy stars invited to Austria
Klopp and his Liverpool squad are currently in Austria on a pre-season training camp.
This feeling! 😁😁😁 pic.twitter.com/Clt2U7drfL
— Virgil van Dijk (@VirgilvDijk) July 13, 2021
The German coach has added a number of the club’s academy stars to his roster with the Euro 2020 and Copa America contingent still missing.
“[It’s] a big group here – a very youthful group but a lot of experienced players here as well,” added Klopp. “Everything we need is here.
“Of course, the guys from the Euros and the Copa [America] are not here yet, they have a well deserved holiday still. But we still try to use the time as [well] as we can to bring the young guns a little bit closer to the first team, and to bring all the other guys in the best possible shape as quick as possible. It will take time, we had a long break, which was absolutely needed.
“We didn’t start now immediately with the highest intensity, of course. We try to get in step by step. Having the first game in a few days and these kinds of things. So, I’m really thrilled being back, to be honest.
“It was a really good holiday and since two or three weeks I could have been back already, mindset-wise. But it was not bad to have them as well. And now we are here full of energy – let’s get started.”