Gini Wijnaldum will sit out of Liverpool’s clash with Monterrey on Wednesday, but his hamstring injury is “not as serious” as first feared.
The Dutchman was forced from the field just before the hour mark in Liverpool’s 2-0 win over Watford on Saturday after sustaining a hamstring injury.
It was the latest setback in a long line of injuries at the most congested period of the season for the Reds, with key pillars in Dejan Lovren, Fabinho and Joel Matip already ruled out for the foreseeable future.
Wijnaldum was expected to miss out on the trip to Qatar and remain on Merseyside, but he was named in the initial 20-man travelling squad.
He did, however, remain on the sidelines as the rest of his team-mates trained ahead of the clash with Monterrey on Wednesday.
And speaking at his pre-match press conference on Tuesday, Jurgen Klopp provided a welcome update that his injury is “not as serious as we thought,” though he will remain on the sidelines for the Club World Cup semi-final.
“Gini was not as serious as we thought in the first moment so he is here, he is doing recovery and then rehab,” he told reporters.
“We will see how it is day by day, but for tomorrow night he is not involved.”
In the 29-year-old’s absence, the boss has a number of options at his disposal for the games ahead with the in-form duo of Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain ready to be called upon, while James Milner and Adam Lallana provide further depth in addition to Jordan Henderson.
A shift to 4-2-3-1 would not be unexpected, with Xherdan Shaqiri also another option while Curtis Jones is also on stand-by.
Although the news is positive that he may not be sidelined for a prolonged period of time, Wijnaldum is unlikely to play on Saturday in either the final or third-place playoff as there should be no need to risk him amid the Reds’ relentless schedule.
Elsewhere, there were concerns over Virgil van Dijk after Liverpool’s No. 4 missed training on Monday, but Klopp insisted that his centre-back was simply taking part in a bespoke session.
“Virgil’s fine. He had to do different stuff with recovery yesterday so that is why he was not involved in the session. All the rest of the squad is fine,” Klopp continued.
The Reds will face-off against Monterrey on Wednesday evening, where the squad is set to be bolstered by the arrival of Harvey Elliott, Sepp van den Berg and Ki-Jana Hoever following their League Cup quarter-final appearance on Tuesday.