Jurgen Klopp has confirmed that is ‘not likely’ Virgil van Dijk will return to action this season, as reports had suggested the Liverpool star could be fit for the final month or so of the 2020-21 season.
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Van Dijk, 29, has been missing since the Merseyside derby in October after he suffered knee ligament damage and underwent surgery.
In recent weeks Van Dijk has been stepping up his recovery as he’s been seen doing individual fitness work, but Klopp doesn’t seem too sure we will see the Dutch defender before the start of next season.
Virgil van Dijk injury update
“Whatever happens, I think we have space for Virgil on the Champions League list. I think he was on the Premier League list. Nobody told me I have to change something with that. If we have space in the Champions League list then Virgil will be on the list,” Klopp said.
“In the moment, I don’t know where these things are coming from – nobody really, no doctor, nobody really told me there’s a chance for Virgil to play in this season again. I don’t want to say that’s absolutely impossible but it’s not likely. It’s not likely. We don’t have to discuss these things really. If we have space we would put them all on, even when all the medical people tell us there’s no chance. We put them on because we believe in miracles from time to time.
“But if there’s no place then we have to consider these kind of things and say, ‘The chance is not too big so we have to make the decision.’ But if they are on the list then it’s only because we hope for nearly a miracle. That’s it.”
So, that’s it for Virgil van Dijk this season. And we knew that was likely but Klopp hasn’t previously shut things down this emphatically. With Fabinho going down injured recently, plus Liverpool losing all of their experienced center backs to injury too, Liverpool have been incredibly unlucky.
Van Dijk, Gomez, Matip replacements arrive
On transfer deadline day they did bring in two new center backs in Ozan Kabak, 20, and Ben Davies, 25, to help out and both seem likely to feature as soon as possible.
With Joe Gomez and Van Dijk out for the season, Liverpool revealed they have lost third-choice center back Joel Matip to a season-ending injury too.
Speaking about the current situation, here’s what Klopp said about the new arrivals settling in at Liverpool as it appears they may not play against Brighton on Wednesday (start time, 3:15pm ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).
“There are different things we can do and help them and that it goes faster. But we play obviously different to Preston and obviously different to Schalke, that’s clear,” Klopp said. “They will need time but we don’t have a lot of time. So we will use the time we have in our hands and try our best. So if they would have to start tomorrow night together, I think that would be not too cool. But we will give them a few more days.”
Next up after Brighton is the clash against Manchester City this Sunday, and that is a mouthwatering encounter which will likely be pivotal for both teams in the title race.
It is likely that one of Davies and Kabak, or both, will play in that game. Welcome to the Premier League, lads.