Jurgen Klopp has issued an update on the fitness of both Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez as Liverpool continue their pre-season preparations in Austria.
Both defenders missed the majority of last season through injury and the Reds will be desperate to have them raring to go for the 2021/22 campaign. Van Dijk was ruled out in October with an ACL injury caused by a reckless challenge from Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.
Days later Gomez was also sidelined for the year when he did damage to his left knee and required surgery.
The pair were included in Liverpool’s training squad that travelled to Salzburg recently and they have been stepping up their rehabilitation gradually. However, neither of them featured as the Reds played their first games of pre-season on Tuesday – two mini-matches against Wacker Innsbruck and Stuttgart.
They have another fixture on Friday against Mainz, the club where Klopp started his managerial career back in 2001.
Asked about whether either defender might play in the contest, he said: “It would be a surprise, to me as well. They have looked really good in training and yesterday was the first day where they did very complex things, usually it is either offensive or defensive and stuff like this. We have to get there, step by step, but I don’t expect them for Friday.”
Although Gomez and Van Dijk remain some way off being match ready, the Reds have had several injury boosts in recent times.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joel Matip – who both had their fitness issues last term – both played in the Reds’ pre-season openers, as did Trent Alexander-Arnold. The right-back missed England’s journey to the Euro 2020 final with a knock but should be ready for his club side’s Premier League curtain raiser against Norwich City on 14 August.