Klopp casts doubt over Van Dijk & Gomez being ready for Liverpool's season opener against Norwich
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has made it clear that he will be taking no risks on the fitness of Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez, with the defensive duo not about to be rushed back into action ahead of the new Premier League season.
The Reds are due to open their 2021-22 campaign away at newly-promoted Norwich on August 14, with three more friendly dates to take in before then.
Van Dijk and Gomez will not figure in the next of those, against Hertha Berlin on Thursday, with two centre-halves that have worked their way back from knee ligament damage being eased back into the fold by Klopp.
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What has been said?
Liverpool's manager has told the club's official website when asked if Van Dijk and Gomez will come back into his plans any time soon: "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.
"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."
When did Van Dijk & Gomez last play for Liverpool?
Netherlands international Van Dijk has been missing for Liverpool since figuring in a Merseyside derby date with Everton on October 17, 2020.
A collision with Toffees goalkeeper Jordan Pickford in that contest saw a talismanic presence for the Reds forced onto the sidelines.
Injury setbacks for Klopp came thick and fast from that point, with many of those leaving him depleted at the back.
Gomez was ruled out a little under a month after Van Dijk saw his season brought to a close.
His last appearance for Liverpool came in a 1-1 draw with Manchester City on November 8, 2020.