As Liverpool begin their pre-season training in Austria, Jurgen Klopp has provided an update on the fitness of both Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez.
Both defenders missed the bulk of last season due to injury, and the Reds will be eager to have them ready for the 2021/22 season. Van Dijk was put out of action in October after suffering an anterior cruciate ligament damage as a result of a reckless tackle by Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.
Gomez was also sidelined for the year a few days later after injuring his left knee and requiring surgery.
The two were recently involved in Liverpool’s training group that traveled to Salzburg, and they have been steadily progressing with their recovery. Neither of them, though, participated in the Reds’ first pre-season games on Tuesday – two mini-matches against Wacker Innsbruck and Stuttgart.
They face Mainz again on Friday, the club where Klopp began his managerial career in 2001.
When asked whether either defender would play in the match, he stated: “That would surprise me as well. They have looked excellent in training, and yesterday was the first day in which they performed very complicated maneuvers; typically, they do attacking or defensive maneuvers. We must go cautiously, but I do not anticipate them on Friday.”
Although Gomez and Van Dijk are still some way from match fitness, the Reds have recently received some injury boosts.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joel Matip also featured in the Reds’ pre-season opening, as did Trent Alexander-Arnold. The right-back missed England’s Euro 2020 qualifying campaign due to an injury but should be available for his club’s Premier League opener against Norwich City on 14 August.