Jurgen Klopp was in good spirits on Tuesday as he welcomed back four injured Liverpool stars. The quartet began pre-season training with the rest of the squad.
Jurgen Klopp’s big mission this summer is getting four players up to scratch. Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Joel Matip and Trent Alexander-Arnold are all returning from injury – getting them ready for the new season won’t be easy.
Alexander-Arnold, of course, didn’t suffer quite as bad an injury as the rest. He’s only been out for a little over a month and we’d expect him to be okay.
The other three, however, are different. Virgil van Dijk hasn’t played football since October, Gomez since November and Matip since January. All three return from surgeries with question marks over their short-term future.
Will they be ready for the new season? What are the risks of aggravating things? Are they the same players that they were?
We’ll have a better idea by the end of pre-season, of course, but it sounds as though things are off to a great start. That’s certainly the impression Klopp gives off.
Klopp on his injured stars
Klopp spoke to Liverpoolfc.com on the injured quarter and he sounds very positive. All are at different stages of their rehabilitation but it’s all sounds good.
“Let’s start with: all four look really good, I have to say. Look really good,” said Klopp.
“So, especially Virg and Joe will not have double sessions now for the first few days with the team. That’s for these two. [They] look really good. I don’t know exactly when we can make the next steps but it will happen in the next four weeks, for sure – we will get a big step forward.
“Joel looks good, absolutely, he is the closest probably to normal training and then we will see when we get him started for playing.
“Trent was a serious enough injury but now not a major one, I would say. He is close but in the moment, probably the next five or six days he has a special programme: from time to time with the team, probably from time to time by himself.”
It sounds as though Alexander-Arnold will be back quite quickly, then – under a week. Matip should join him relatively soon, too, whereas the other two are the big questions.
It’s all wait-and-see, of course, but the first check will be to see if all four are playing by the end of pre-season. Get them to that point and we can comfortably say that Liverpool have done a great job here.
This won’t be easy, given the nature of the injuries. Liverpool can’t take any chances with Van Dijk and Gomez, in particular, but need to keep their progress ticking along.
We’ll expect nothing and just cross our fingers, then. To have everyone back by the start of the season would be fantastic and worthy of celebration.