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When will Van Dijk & Alexander-Arnold be back for Liverpool? Klopp delivers fitness update ahead of Premier League return

1:03 PM IST 23/12/22
Virgil van Dijk Liverpool 2022
Jurgen Klopp hopes Virgil van Dijk and Trent Alexander-Arnold will be ready for Liverpool’s first Premier League game after the World Cup break.
  • Reds to face Aston Villa on Boxing Day
  • Key men missed Man City cup clash
  • Illness and injury present selection problems

WHAT HAPPENED? The Reds were back in competitive action on Thursday when facing Manchester City in the fourth round of the Carabao Cup, with the defence of that crown coming to an end courtesy of a 3-2 defeat suffered at the Etihad Stadium. Liverpool were without a number of senior stars, with Alexander-Arnold feeling under the weather, Roberto Firmino nursing a knock and Van Dijk and Alisson only recently returning to training following international duty at Qatar 2022.

WHAT THEY SAID: Klopp told reporters afterwards when delivering a fitness update on his squad: We thought Trent was available but then he got ill, so that is what we have to wait for. Virgil trained today [and] yesterday completely normal and should be ready for Monday, but we have to see who gets the virus until then.”

The German tactician added: “We play mainly with the players who could do all the sessions now and had a break – apart from Bobby, who unfortunately got injured two days ago in training. Not a big one but big enough for this period. That’s why Darwin [Nunez] is now starting. He could’ve started anyway but Darwin is starting now.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: James Milner is another that Liverpool are sweating on ahead of a Boxing Day trip to Aston Villa, with the versatile 36-year-old forced off against City. Klopp added on that injury setback: Millie felt something in the hamstring. We still hope it is not an injury, but we will see. He felt something, but after 30 years in the business he said, ‘I don’t think it’s a lot’ so we will see.”

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WHAT NEXT? Liverpool, who made an inconsistent start to the 2022-23 campaign prior to domestic football shutting down, will resume top-flight activity sat sixth in the Premier League table – seven points adrift of the top four and 15 behind leaders Arsenal.