Klopp hints at Van Dijk’s absence for Man City cup

Jurgen Klopp has hinted he won’t consider signing Virgil van Dijk for Liverpool’s comeback against Manchester City next week.

Van Dijk returned to training with Liverpool in Dubai this week following the Netherlands’ World Cup elimination against Argentina last Friday.

The 31-year-old played an integral part in all five of his country’s matches in Qatar – including extra time in the quarter-final loss to Argentina – totaling 480 minutes of action.

However, while Klopp is unwilling to rush Van Dijk’s return, he has yet to bring in English duo Jordan Henderson and Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Henderson hasn’t finished in any of the three England games he has started, while Alexander-Arnold has managed just 33 minutes on the pitch in the Three Lions’ five games.

“Yes, there is a chance, of course – they are already training,” Klopp told Liverpool’s official website when asked if any returning World Cup players would be in action against City.

“Hendo is already training here. Virgil is training here, but I don’t think we will try that. Hendo we will see, Trent we will see.

“But this group has now been working together for almost two weeks and we’ve taken a real step forward and that’s cool. I don’t know at the moment.

“I hope we all get through this and we all know that in England, and in Europe in general, there’s some kind of virus going around, so hopefully we can stay out of that.

“Then we will obviously decide on Wednesday who can play on Thursday. But that’s good and it will be a very interesting game after this period, but I’m looking forward to it.”

Liverpool beat Milan 4-1 in their second mid-season friendly on Friday, with Darwin Nunez – who suffered early in the World Cup with Uruguay – scoring twice.

Mohamed Salah and Thiago Alcantara were also on target for Liverpool in the United Arab Emirates, where Klopp used 22 different players, including a number of youngsters.

“In general, tonight was the result of the last 10 days of what we saw in training and tonight we were able to bring him onto the pitch, which is obviously nice,” Klopp said.

“I’m not sure that the academy [players] might watch the game tonight, but when you see these boys and play in a game like this, it’s cool.

“It’s a real physical game, adult football is a physical game and the boys have to do these steps so they can prepare for it step by step.

“The physical part will come but until you’re that strong, you can create a lot of ideas, you can do things a little bit smarter.

“There were a lot of really good things tonight and that’s why we play football. We want to see good football matches.”

Liverpool’s trip to the Etihad Stadium is followed four days later by a visit to Aston Villa on their return to the Premier League, before hosting Leicester City on December 30.

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