The Reds suffered significant setbacks last season when they lost several players due to injuries. The most prominent being the ACL injury to their talismanic centre-back, Virgil van Dijk, last October. Soon after that, the responsibility of nullifying the oppositional threats landed on the shoulders of young Joe Gomez.
Unfortunately for him, he was also sidelined for the season after damaging his left knee just a few days later. It was a serious ailment that required him to go under the knife. Since then, the duo have been sidelined and were unable to help the team in any way. The manager has had to use midfielders as makeshift defenders on several occasions.
The defensive partnership between van Dijk and Joe Gomez was pivotal to Liverpool winning their first league title in the era of the Premier League. After a wait of 30 years, this group of players brought back the most anticipated silverware to Anfield.
Recent news from the Liverpool manager
Things looked positive for Liverpool fans after both van Dijk and Joe Gomez were incorporated back into training with the first team, but the boss has now cast doubt over their chances of being entirely fit in time for the start of the new season.
Jürgen Klopp made it crystal clear that he does not expect both players to participate in Liverpool's pre-season campaign in Austria. When asked if van Dijk and Gomez could return, he said:
"It would still be a surprise, unfortunately. But they look really good. Look, I think they do everything, they play football, we keep them in training, we do the things we can do, they don’t too much and stuff like this."- Jürgen Klopp H/T Sky Sports.
"We just have to be patient – we prepare for a full season, not for a pre-season game. I will not risk it for a game here, so we have to see. We have a lot of games still coming, pre-season games, but I don’t see them being involved for the next one."- Klopp added.
The gaffer does not want to risk anything for the upcoming year. Dealing with a defensive crisis at Anfield like the year before would only cause more misery. So there is added speculation of exempting the defensive duo from the first few matchdays of the new season.
The first two matchdays of the season will feature Liverpool facing Norwich City in an away fixture followed by the Reds hosting Burnley at Anfield. Considering the fact that these games are relatively early and comparatively easier for Liverpool, it would be judicious not to try to push the players who have just returned to fitness after a 10-month long absence.
Liverpool are yet to play any of their three pre-season friendlies against Hertha, Athletic Club and Osasuna.
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