Virgil van Dijk missed training ahead of the Champions League semif-inal against Barcelona, but his presence at Anfield will be vital to Liverpool’s chances of winning.
The Dutchman was absent for Liverpool’s final training session before Anfield welcomes Barcelona, according to the Mirror, but it might not be a major concern as it seems as though he was just being given extra rest.
He has been carrying a foot injury for a while now and given that he has played over 5000 minutes of football this season, Jurgen Klopp will feel totally justified in resting the 27-year-old.
With Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi certain to be desperate to score at Anfield tonight, Klopp needs to avoid playing a central defensive partnership of Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren.
The latter has proven time and again that he cannot be trusted to deliver when the stakes are high.
His awful defensive performance at the Etihad this season allowed Man City the chance to get back into the title race and after his previous transgressions, fans are unlikely to forgive him.
Liverpool need to score four goals and while that is key, equally important will be the Reds’ ability to avoid conceding another goal against one of the best teams in Europe.
It’s painstakingly obvious that van Dijk is Liverpool’s best defender and his presence at Anfield tonight will be key to beating Barcelona. Even if he is not at his best, Klopp must hand him a start.
Funnily enough, keeping the Catalonians quiet this evening will be a lot easier than finding the back of the net and this is purely due to the fact that the Reds will be without both Firmino and Salah in attack.
On top of that, Naby Keita is injured and won’t be able to influence play with his world-class dribbling and high pressing.
If anything the starting XI that Klopp will be forced to start with tonight will be a sign of what needs to change this summer.
New signings are necessary especially given that Manchester City are likely to reinforce their squad despite the vast array of talent already available to Pep Guardiola.