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Klopp details plans for Van Dijk and Gomez as they step up fitness bids

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has given an update on Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Joel Matip and Trent Alexander-Arnold as they work their way back to full fitness.

Van Dijk has been out since last October, when he suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury in the Merseyside derby. Gomez also sustained a serious knee injury a few weeks later, with both players requiring surgery.

Their absence – along with persistent fitness problems for Matip – was a major factor in Liverpool ’s disappointing Premier League title defence. Having come through the season relatively unscathed, Alexander-Arnold then picked up a thigh injury in the run-up to Euro 2020 which ruled him out of the tournament.

Thankfully, Van Dijk, Gomez, Matip and Alexander-Arnold are now on the comeback trail. With Liverpool currently on a pre-season training camp in Austria, all four are stepping up their training regimes.

Joe Gomez and Virgil van Dijk in action last year

Asked whether they were close to full fitness, Klopp told the Liverpool 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.

“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 and 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.”

Gomez and Van Dijk are on the road to recovery
Gomez and Van Dijk are on the road to recovery

Klopp has taken a handful of academy prospects to Austria and has outlined his ambitions for them ahead of Liverpool’s first pre-season friendlies. “[It’s] a big group here – a very youthful group but a lot of experienced players here as well,” he said. “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.”

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