Virgil van Dijk & Gini Wijnaldum absent as Liverpool train for Monterrey semi-final

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Liverpool trained in Doha on Monday, with Virgil van Dijk and Gini Wijnaldum both absent ahead of the Club World Cup semi-final against Monterrey.

The Reds were greeted by rain—and several hundred fans at the team hotel—when they arrived in Qatar on Sunday, fresh from the 2-0 win over Watford the day before.

Wijnaldum’s inclusion came as a surprise given his withdrawal due to a hamstring injury at Anfield, and the Dutchman ultimately sat out of the first training session.

DOHA, QATAR - Monday, December 16, 2019: Liverpool players during a training session ahead of the FIFA Club World Cup Semi-Final match between CF Monterrey and Liverpool FC at the Qatar University. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

He was joined on the absentees list by Van Dijk, though there is no indication at this stage whether this was due to an injury or simply a lengthier recovery after Saturday’s victory.

DOHA, QATAR - Monday, December 16, 2019: Liverpool's Neco Williams during a training session ahead of the FIFA Club World Cup Semi-Final match between CF Monterrey and Liverpool FC at the Qatar University. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Teenager Neco Williams was involved after being drafted into the initial squad along with Curtis Jones, despite previously being expected to play in the League Cup quarter-final at Aston Villa on Tuesday night.

Instead, they are involved from the start of Liverpool’s Club World Cup campaign, while Ki-Jana Hoever, Sepp van den Berg and Harvey Elliott will join later in the week.

DOHA, QATAR - Monday, December 16, 2019: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah during a training session ahead of the FIFA Club World Cup Semi-Final match between CF Monterrey and Liverpool FC at the Qatar University. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

DOHA, QATAR - Monday, December 16, 2019: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (R) during a training session ahead of the FIFA Club World Cup Semi-Final match between CF Monterrey and Liverpool FC at the Qatar University. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Mohamed Salah was the main focus for the cameras at Qatar University, with the Egyptian having scored three excellent goals with his weaker right foot last week—one at Salzburg, before a brace to down Watford.

DOHA, QATAR - Monday, December 16, 2019: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah during a training session ahead of the FIFA Club World Cup Semi-Final match between CF Monterrey and Liverpool FC at the Qatar University. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

He is likely to start against Monterrey in midweek, though Klopp could opt to rotate once again, as he navigates a busy winter schedule.

Xherdan Shaqiri is among those available, along with the likes of Adam Lallana, Naby Keita and Divock Origi, with plenty of options both in midfield and attack.

DOHA, QATAR - Monday, December 16, 2019: Liverpool's Xherdan Shaqiri during a training session ahead of the FIFA Club World Cup Semi-Final match between CF Monterrey and Liverpool FC at the Qatar University. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Shaqiri has already won the Club World Cup during his time at Bayern Munich, and speaking to the club’s official website the Swiss described it as “an amazing experience.”

“We will do everything to win. It’s going to be good—good weather, good teams so we have to enjoy it but also try to win it,” he continued.

“It’s an opportunity to win it and to bring one more trophy back to Liverpool.”

If Van Dijk misses out at the Khalifa International Stadium, Klopp could have a difficult decision to make at centre-back, with injuries to Fabinho, Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren limiting his selection.

A best-case scenario would therefore see Jordan Henderson partner Joe Gomez at centre-back, with the captain under consideration for a similar role when short last season.

DOHA, QATAR - Monday, December 16, 2019: Liverpool's Roberto Firmino (L) during a training session ahead of the FIFA Club World Cup Semi-Final match between CF Monterrey and Liverpool FC at the Qatar University. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Elsewhere, Oxlade-Chamberlain was pictured receiving treatment from fitness coach Conall Murtagh, but it appeared to be only cramp—though this could cast doubt over his involvement.

DOHA, QATAR - Monday, December 16, 2019: Liverpool's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain receives treatment during a training session ahead of the FIFA Club World Cup Semi-Final match between CF Monterrey and Liverpool FC at the Qatar University. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The manager will be hoping he can avoid too much experimentation, however, as he sets his sights on more silverware following the UEFA Super Cup win in August.

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