Jurgen Klopp has poured cold water over suggestions that defensive duo Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez will be fit for the summer’s European Championship, saying it is ‘unlikely’ either will be back to match sharpness in time.
Both centre-backs picked up serious injuries in the early stages of the season, and while Liverpool have desperately struggled without them, Klopp has been reluctant to put any sort of pressure on his first-choice pairing to get back onto the pitch.
‘They’ll be ready when they’re ready’ has been the consistent message from the German, and it was the same over the weekend when he was asked if they will be available for their countries when the Euros roll around in June.
While he is hopeful of having them back on the pitch for pre-season, he says it’s unlikely either will be up to speed in time to be named in squads by Frank de Boer or Gareth Southgate.
When asked about the possibility of a return for the Euros, he said: “It is not my decision but to be honest the information I have at the moment is that it will be unlikely. It’s not that I don’t let them go, because I don’t want to have to do that anyway, it is because of the extent of the injuries.
“We all hope they will be ready to start pre-season with us, that’s what we all hope. With Joel [Matip] it is pretty much the same.
“These are really serious injuries and it is too early to talk about which competition they play.
“I am always open for positive surprises and they all of a sudden turn up in team training – but no-one told me that. The two of them look better than Joel as he is still in what looks like ski boots. Joe is not running, Virgil is already running but this is a real tough one.
“We will be completely over the moon when they are ready to train with us for the start of pre-season but the Euros, I didn’t think about it.
“When do you have to be back to be ready to play in the Euros? The week before? The day the Euros start? I don’t know.
“I understand maybe the need of that but we cannot make this decision and we will not. They will be fit when they are fit.”