Jurgen Klopp has suggested he will not consider selecting Virgil van Dijk for Liverpool’s return to action against Manchester City next week.
Van Dijk returned to training with Liverpool in Dubai this week on the back of the Netherlands’ elimination from the World Cup against Argentina last Friday.
The 31-year-old played a full part in all five of his country’s matches in Qatar – including extra time in the quarter-final loss to Argentina – totalling 480 minutes of action.
However, while Klopp does not want to rush Van Dijk’s comeback, he has yet to make a call on England duo Jordan Henderson and Trent Alexander-Arnold.
Henderson did not finish any of the three England matches he started, while Alexander-Arnold managed just 33 minutes on the field across the Three Lions’ five matches.
“Yes, there’s a chance, of course – they’re training already,” Klopp told Liverpool’s official website when asked if any returning World Cup players would be in action against City.
“Hendo is already training here. Virgil is training here, but I don’t think we will try that. Hendo we will see, Trent we will see.
“But this group worked now together for nearly two weeks and we made a real step and that’s cool. I don’t know in this moment.
“I hope we all get through it and we all know in England, and in Europe in general, there’s kind of a virus going around, so we hope we can stay out of that.
“Then we’ll make the decision obviously on Wednesday who can play on Thursday. But it’s good and will be a very interesting game after that period, but I’m looking forward to it.”
Outstanding, @Thiago6 pic.twitter.com/F63bXTkhlt
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) December 16, 2022
Liverpool defeated Milan 4-1 in their second mid-season friendly on Friday, with Darwin Nunez – who suffered early World Cup heartbreak with Uruguay – scoring twice.
Mohamed Salah and Thiago Alcantara were also on target for Liverpool in the United Arab Emirates, where Klopp used 22 different players, including a number of youngsters.
“In general, tonight was the result of the last 10 days what we saw in training and tonight we could bring it on the pitch, which is obviously nice,” Klopp said.
“I’m not sure the academy [players] could watch the game tonight but when you see these boys and performing in a game like this, it’s cool.
“It’s a real physical game, adult football is a physical game and the boys need to make these steps so they can get ready for it step by step.
“The physical part will come but until you are that strong, you can create a lot of ideas, you can do things a bit smarter.
“There was a lot of really good things tonight and that’s why we play football. We want to see good football games.”
Liverpool’s trip to the Etihad Stadium is followed four days later by a visit to Aston Villa on their return to Premier League action, before hosting Leicester City on December 30.
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