Klopp explains why Van Dijk and Gomez STILL won’t be involved in friendly next week

Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez will again be missing as Liverpool take on Hertha Berlin in their next pre-season friendly, with Jurgen Klopp not willing to risk the pair.

Van Dijk and Gomez have been a welcome addition in pre-season training in Austria, taking part in ball work with the rest of the squad after long-term injuries.

But the centre-back duo are yet to feature in friendly action, with Ibrahima Konate, Joel Matip, Rhys Williams, Ben Davies, Nat Phillips and Billy Koumetio all given minutes against Wacker Innsbruck, Stuttgart and Mainz.

Liverpool’s next outing is against Hertha Berlin on Thursday night, and despite there being almost a week until the game, Van Dijk and Gomez will still be out.

Speaking to LFCTV after the Reds’ 1-0 victory over Mainz, Klopp explained why he would “not risk it” as he takes a wider view on their fitness and the campaign ahead.

“Yes, I would still be surprised, unfortunately,” he said, when asked if they would be available next week.

“They look really good, they do everything. They play football, we keep them in training, we do the things we can do. They don’t do too much.

“We have to be patient. We prepare for a full season, not a pre-season game.

“I will not risk it. We have a lot of games coming, pre-season games, but I don’t see them being involved in the next one.”

While it may be disappointing for fans given how long Van Dijk and Gomez have been out and how long they have been back in training, it seems the right decision to keep them out for longer.

Though they will require time to build up sharpness and pre-season friendlies are ideal for that, throwing them back in too soon after major surgeries could force re-injury, which would be catastrophic.

With Konate and Matip impressing as part of the starting side against Mainz, it would be no surprise if they were chosen to start against Norwich on August 14.

A patient waiting game is required when it comes to Van Dijk and Gomez, and hopefully it will pay off eventually.