Jurgen Klopp has issued a positive feedback on what he thinks of key defenders Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez in pre-season as they return from serious injuries.
Liverpool fans will know the exact reason for their season to fall apart last season, as the Reds were unable to defend their Premier League title. Both Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez were understandably Liverpool’s first-choice central defenders, and having them out for most of the season hurt Jurgen Klopp’s side in the long run.
In addition, Joel Matip also could not keep his fitness in check with niggling injuries forcing him to miss a large chunk of games. Klopp saw his defensive options take their chances at the back, but midfielders Fabinho and Jordan Henderson had to switch their positions to play.
Those injuries saw both van Dijk and Gomez being ruled out of the UEFA Euro 2020 with Netherlands and England, respectively. However, with the new season approaching and the players back in light training, the duo is close to returning to the field, albeit not soon enough.
Having started pre-season in Austria, van Dijk and Gomez reported to the camp, and Klopp had his say on their fitness. The manager, ahead of Liverpool’s first pre-season game, suggested the duo could be back in full training soon, but it will still take time to assess their entire situation.
As much as Liverpool fans are concerned about the duo being absent for more games, especially in the coming season, the new signing of Ibrahima Konate will somewhat cool their nerves. Others, such as Nathaniel Phillips, has shown he can do a job when called upon alongside Rhys Williams and others.
Eurosport published some of the quotes from the Liverpool manager regarding his defenders. Klopp was particularly asked if there were any setbacks since the defenders returned to training.
The Liverpool boss said, “Not at all. No setbacks at all. Not for Joe, nothing – he’s trained completely normal. That’s the thing; these boys are not injured anymore; they are just not at 100 per cent yet, There are usually setbacks, but so far, there were no setbacks with Joe and Virgil. They are all fine. What they had to do they did, no reaction with the knee, nothing, all fine. The worldwide web had too much time.”
Klopp was also asked about other injured defenders such as Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joel Matip. While both are back in training, he referenced the example of van Dijk and Gomez to give a better understanding of the situation.
He said, “Then, Joe and Virgil are in a similar situation. Both have done parts of our normal training, and then they have to do extra parts. Yesterday we had to do some sprints, hard sprints and these kinds of things, which we didn’t do in the normal training. So they do extra stuff, and sometimes a little bit less in what we are doing is too intense for them. They are getting closer and closer; that’s the impression we have.”
So from what we can gather from those words, Liverpool’s defenders are on the right path to regain fitness. How many of them will be available for the Reds’ opening game of the new Premier League season remains to be seen. In all, Liverpool fans will be pleased to know the health and fitness of van Dijk and Gomez is on track.