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Jurgen Klopp has daunted hopes that Virgil van Dijk can come back from injury faster than expected, insisting there is still a long way to go in the recovery process.
Van Dijk, who celebrates three years as a Liverpool player this month, has not played for a minute since sustaining a knee ligament injury as a result of a wild challenge from Jordan Pickford in the Merseyside derby in October.
Although the subsequent surgery was successful, the rehabilitation time for such an injury can take up to a year.
Recent videos posted on social media of Van Dijk returning to solo fitness training have given Liverpool fans cause for optimism that the Dutch defender, who won the UEFA Player of the Year in 2019, may be on his way. recovery faster than normal.
However, while Klopp is pleased with his star’s good progress so far, he admits that the reality is that Van Dijk faces a long process.
Klopp said, via Sky sports: “I have no problem talking about Virgil van Dijk. He is very good but there is still a long way to go, that is this type of injury.
“I’m glad when I watch these videos, to be honest, because it just shows that he makes good progress. But it will still take a long time, that’s right.
“I would like to say something else, but these are the facts, unfortunately.”
In addition to Van Dijk’s unfortunate injury, central defender Joe Gomez’s regular partner also suffered from an equally severe knee problem and is likely to miss most, if not all, of the remainder of the 2020/21 campaign.
In the absence of Liverpool’s first-choice pair Joel Matip, himself a frequent fitness concern, has teamed up with converted defender Fabinho, while academy products Rhys Williams and Nat Phillips have also had a time of unexpected game.
Van Dijk is also facing a battle to get fit for the summer European Championships, with head coach Frank de Boer saying that the Liverpool star’s place in the 23rd final will depend on whether he brings his club back first.
“It will be a race against time,” De Boer said. International soccer. “I hope so, but you must be responsible. He will have to play before then, otherwise I can’t imagine Liverpool handing him over. “