Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has this weekend provided fresh updates on the fitness of sidelined defenders Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip.
Reds hit hard
The injury crisis at Anfield has of course proven one of the stories of the Premier League campaign to date.
The champions have endured a season to forget to date, having seen the defence of their title go up in smoke, as Manchester City cruise towards a 3rd title in 4 years.
Dips in form on the part of a host of the club’s key performers have of course proven central to Liverpool’s woes, with the likes of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Trent Alexander-Arnold having toiled over lengthy stretches.
Such shortcomings, though, have paled in comparison to the impact made by the frankly staggering personnel issues endured by Jurgen Klopp’s men.
Almost all of the Reds’ first-choice XI have spent at least some time on the sidelines across the campaign to date.
The heart of the club’s backline, meanwhile, has been particularly hard-hit, with the trio of Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip all ruled out for the remainder of the season.
Dutchman van Dijk has not featured since October, after suffering an ACL injury during a Merseyside Derby meeting with Everton.
Whilst Matip, for obvious reasons, is not expected to feature on the pitch in any capacity until next season, however, questions surrounding both van Dijk and Gomez have begun to circulate of late.
This comes with the Netherlands and England both primed to participate in this summer’s rescheduled European Championships.
In turn, supporters of the respective nations, in particular the former, have aired their hopes regarding the possibility of a return to action on the international stage in a couple of months’ time.
And this was a possibility which Jurgen Klopp was drawn on this weekend, during a press conference ahead of Liverpool’s Premier League meeting with Wolves.
When asked whether taking part at the Euros could prove beneficial for van Dijk and Gomez, in their respective efforts to return to full fitness, the Reds boss explained:
‘That’s not my decision. But, to be honest, the information I have in the moment [is] it will be unlikely.’
‘So, not that I don’t let them go because I don’t want to have to do that anyway, but it’s because of the extent of the injury. We all hope that they will be ready to start the pre-season with us. That’s what we hope.’
‘And, by the way, with Joel it’s pretty much the same, he’s just not qualified for the Euros but it’s with him the same.’
‘These are really serious injuries. And it’s not about now that we talk [about] which competition they can play. As far as I know – and I’m always open for positive surprises, now they all of a sudden show up in team training – but nobody told me that.’
‘The two of them [Gomez and Van Dijk] look in the moment better than Joel looks because he’s still in his [what] looks like skiing boots. But he is here as well. Joe is not running, Virgil is already running, but this is really a tough one.’
‘We are completely over the moon when they are ready to train with us for the start of pre-season. About the Euros, I didn’t think about it.’
‘I don’t know when you would have to be back that you are able to play the Euros. The week before? The day when the Euros start? I don’t know. That’s it. I understand maybe the need of that but we cannot make this decision and we will not.’
‘It’s just about when they will be fit, they will be fit. That’s how it is.’
This article was edited by Josh Barker.
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