Liverpool sweating on Virgil van Dijk fitness against Chelsea - can they cope?

Van Dijk was substituted against Southampton with a rib injury

Liverpool sweating on Virgil van Dijk fitness against Chelsea - can they cope?

Van Dijk was substituted against Southampton with a rib injury

28 September 2018 Friday 15:09
Liverpool sweating on Virgil van Dijk fitness against Chelsea - can they cope?

Jurgen Klopp is sweating on the fitness of Virgil van Dijk for the trip to Chelsea – but is confident Liverpool can cope if the centre-back misses out.

Van Dijk was sidelined from the midweek Carabao Cup third round defeat at home to the Londoners with a rib injury that forced him off during the second half of last weekend's 3-0 win over Southampton.

With the Dutchman absent, Dejan Lovren made his first appearance of the season at the heart of defence on Wednesday alongside Joel Matip, who was making only his second start since March.

And while Van Dijk will undergo a late fitness test ahead of the Saturday evening showdown at Stamford Bridge, Klopp is happy with his other defensive options.

Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk sits injured on the pitch during the Premier League match at Anfield, Liverpool.

Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk sits injured on the pitch during the Premier League match at Anfield, Liverpool.

“With Virgil we have to wait,” said Klopp. “He hasn't trained so far with the team but I can't say any more about that.

“Virgil is a world-class player, there's no doubt about that. And if you miss a world-class player, it's always not cool.

“But Dejan Lovren played his first game after around about 10 weeks out. Most of that time he was that injured that he couldn't even think about training.

"It was a part of the body where you can't do fitness, nothing. After that long period out, he played an outstanding game.

“Joel Matip, a long time injured, but now two games in a row played fantastic."

Klopp added: “If Virgil is fit and can play, then he will play. But if not, then obviously we have options and that's really good.

"For that, yes, his impact is always obvious, but we could play football before Virgil van Dijk and we can play football without Virgil van Dijk, thank God.

“But I prefer he is fit and available and I can make decisions over whether he needs a rest in one of the other games. For the last game he was not available, now we will see what it will be tomorrow.”

Klopp will make a raft of changes for the Premier League clash at Chelsea with Andy Robertson, Alisson Becker, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino among those almost certain to return to the starting line-up.

And Trent Alexander-Arnold and Gini Wijnaldum are expected to be available after also missing the 2-1 loss to the Londoners on Wednesday.

“Trent trained yesterday completely normal,” said Klopp. “It was not a knock, Trent was a bit ill. The rest are pretty good, and Gini has trained as well, so all good.”

Updated: 28.09.2018 15:31
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