June 14, 2021

Klopp: No return date for Van Dijk

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Jurgen Klopp is refusing to put a timescale on Virgil van Dijk’s return from the serious knee injury suffered in last weekend’s Merseyside derby.

Van Dijk is yet to undergo surgery on the cruciate ligament damage he suffered in a challenge from Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.

The Dutch defender could miss the rest of the season but Klopp would not give an estimated return date during Friday’s press conference.

“I can understand that people are interested in that,” said the Liverpool boss. “Virgil was here, he is okay.

Pickford collides with Van Dijk 1:13
Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti says goalkeeper Jordan Pickford did not intend to injure Virgil van Dijk and that his challenge was ‘mistimed’

“But when it comes to the surgery and stuff, it doesn’t make sense for us to give a time schedule. We’ll do that at an appropriate time, but he’s as good as possible.

“We don’t want to know how long he is out for, it will take time for sure. In the end, all people are different so we can’t say for him it’s that long, for him it’s that long.

“It makes sense from a specific moment in the recovery and rehab time.

“Everybody copes differently with it that’s why there is no need for an update.”

Fabinho is covering at centre-back for the injured Virgil van Dijk
Image: Fabinho is covering at centre-back for Van Dijk

Klopp has backed Fabinho to fill in for Van Dijk at the heart of Liverpool’s defence after impressing alongside Joe Gomez at centre-back during Wednesday’s Champions League win against Ajax.

“They’re (Van Dijk and Fabinho) different players but both can defend, that helps obviously,” said Klopp.

“We all know Fab can play this position, he played against Bayern for example in a home game, and was absolutely great.

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“I’m not surprised he can play the position but it’s all about getting used to each other. I don’t think this line played together before the Ajax game.

“There are a lot of things from an organisational point of view. You cannot talk about it or exchange notes about it; it’s just to feel what’s right and wrong, high line or low line, this kind of stuff.

“That’s why I said there is a lot to improve because these boys need to get used to each other.”

Rhian Brewster
Image: Rhian Brewster could face his former side on Saturday

Liverpool return to Premier League action on Saturday when they face Sheffield United, live on Sky Sports Box Office.

It means a quick return to Anfield for Rhian Brewster, who joined the Blades from Liverpool in a £23.5m earlier this month.

“We all know him very well and that’s the problem, we know how good he is. That’s the situation,” said Klopp.

“We need to be 100 per cent focused if he starts. But not only him. Sheffield United are doing really well; they had a pretty tough start fixture-wise.

“I’m pretty sure Chris (Wilder) is calm enough to know all the good things they did are still good and they just have to keep them going. That’s what they will try and that makes it really a very intense game.

“It’s Sheffield United; the way they play, if you want to win the game you have to be intense yourself.

“And if Rhian is then on the pitch, we know we should not let him finish at all because wherever he gets the ball he is a natural finisher and that’s his biggest threat.”