Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is hopeful Virgil van Dijk will play again this season but conceded the defender returning is ‘unlikely.’

The Dutch superstar has been out with an ACL injury since last October and, while his progress has been encouraging, his chances of featuring for the defending champions in their remaining matches look slim.

Van Dijk has been a huge part of Liverpool’s success under Klopp

Getty Images – Getty

Van Dijk has been a huge part of Liverpool’s success under Klopp

The Reds left the Dutchman out of their squad submitted to the Premier League – their Champions League squad had already been finalised – after the first transfer window closed but it needs to be resubmitted after they brought in Ben Davies and Ozan Kabak on loan on deadline day.

Klopp has said he has been left scratching his head at the devastating defensive problems his side have faced this term.

“Obviously our situation is really strange,” Klopp said at his press conference ahead of Wednesday’s clash with Brighton.

“At the moment we are without our first four centre-half choices, and only one of them will come back [return to fitness this season] and that’s Fabinho, who is actually a number six.

“So we needed players. We could obviously play very well, but the problem has always been if one more thing happens then we don’t really know what to do, and it’s really then we’d start struggling.

Kabak and Davies arrived at Anfield on deadline day

Kabak and Davies arrived at Anfield on deadline day

“The solutions we’ve found so far have been good, but now we have more options.”

Klopp admitted he was happy with the defensive arrivals of ‘experienced’ duo Kabak and Davies on deadline day, believing the latter’s rise up the echelons of English football is a ‘special’ story.

“Both have experience on their level, they’ve played a lot of games,” continued Klopp when asked about the two arrivals.

“Yes, Ozan is pretty young but that makes it really special because he has this experience, too. We will see that when he comes here in a really stable team, he’s doing a lot of things really good, that we can help him and then he can help us.

“With Ben it’s the same, he’s just had a different pathway and I like that, that’s football.

“We don’t need to watch a Hollywood movie to see these kind of stories, in football it’s possible as well. Yesterday, Preston. Today, Liverpool. So that’s a nice story already.

Andy Brassell gives the lowdown on Schalke’s Ozan Kabak – the defender who Liverpool hope can solidify their defence in Virgin Van Dijk absence

“I really can’t wait to start working with the boys. I’m a big fan of chances and giving opportunities, so this is an absolute chance for the club, for us as a team and for the boys as well.

“Whatever they did so far was good enough that we wanted to have them. From now on, we expect more, it’s as simple as that. That’s how it is.

“Each single player has to make the team better, that’s how we always saw it and did it. That helps the team and the team then helps the players to flourish, that’s exactly what we expect from the two boys as well.”

Lastly, Klopp admitted that while he hopes he will see Van Dijk back in action it remains doubtful.

He finished: “No doctor, nobody really told me that there’s a chance for Virgil to play in this season again.

“I don’t want to say it’s absolutely impossible, but it’s not likely.”


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