Jurgen Klopp has revealed that iconic defender Virgil van Dijk’s comeback from serious knee ligament looks “really, really promising”.
But even though he's had encouraging conversations with the Liverpool centre half over his fitness programme, and van Dijk has revealed himself in ultra-positive mood, the Reds boss refused to put a timescale on his return.
The Holland international has posted pictures of his recovery, with the rehabilitation programme going so well, that he has already returned to running on grass, and even some work with the ball, which is usually a turning point in recovery.
The star has been pursuing a tailored rehab plan during warm weather recovery in Dubai, at the NAS Sports Complex where many top athletes step up their return from injury, under close medical guidance from fitness specialists.
And Klopp said the news couldn’t be better from van Dijk. “He looks really good and I spoke to him this morning and he is in a good mood,” he said during his Wednesday press conference.
“I had this injury myself but for the time we are in and how long he is out, he looks really, really promising.”
That has had some people speculating van Dijk could even be back before the end of the season, with an injury that usually takes between seven to 10 months to recover from, with modern medical techniques.
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But Klopp urged caution. “I don’t know what is possible and I don’t think I am the right person to judge it, so I don’t know when he will be back.”
The Liverpool boss also damped enthusiasm over a return for new Liverpool star Diogo Jota, who suffered serious knee injury in the Champions League game at Midtjylland on December 9.
Klopp revealed the forward is still using a knee brace when resting, but also explained that he has stepped up his rehab at the training ground.
“(The knee brace is) partly off. That is how it is. At home he is wearing it. Here he is not,” he said.
"Diogo is still a few weeks away. I don't know exactly for how long but the injury needs time. We will be happy, hopefully in the near future, when he's back again."
Jota’s recovery timeframe was always a return in early February, and Liverpool are not yet ruling out a comeback against Manchester City on February 7.
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