As the international break winds down and the squads start to come back together ahead of the trip to Elland Road this weekend, it’s time to assess fitness - considering Liverpool have a, shall we say, shaky relationship with international breaks and injuries.
Of primary concern for many will be Virgl van Dijk, who limped off of the Netherlands’ match against Turkey on Tuesday with an ankle issue but has since said he’s “200% fit.” That may not actually be a thing but we’re happy to roll with it because we’re all a little burned from last season.
“With Virgil, that was obviously a scary moment you can imagine,” manager Jürgen Klopp told the club website on Thursday when asked about the incidet.
“I sent him a message after the game, ‘Are you alright?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘100 per cent?’ ‘200 per cent.’ ‘Come on, send me a video of you without limping...’ ‘I’m only limping off.’
“So he called me from the bus and said, ‘Boss, I’m fine!’ I said, ‘Why are you limping then?’ He said, ‘My wife asked the same!’ So, yeah, that was a bit of a tricky moment but apart from that, no, all fine [for the other international players].”
Meanwhile, Harvey Elliott had to withdraw from the England U21s earlier this week with a minor injury, and Takumi Minamino followed suit in departing the Japanese squad. James Milner and Roberto Firmino are still working on injuries they had sustained before the break as well, but otherwise the squad seems to be in fine shape - FIFA bans that may or may not be upheld not withstanding.
“Taki is already here for a while, he got injured obviously with Japan,” Klopp continued. “Bobby is not [fit], it happened in the game [against Chelsea] obviously. Harvey is fine again.
“Millie, we have to see. Millie has to be part of team training yet, he was not part of team training so far, so we will see what he can do today. But he will get closer definitely.”
Klopp also gave reassurances that Naby Keita was alright and uninjured following the military coup in Guinea this week.
“Naby is fine,” said Klopp. “Yesterday he was not here [at the AXA Training Centre] but he was in Liverpool again. I will have a chat with him today, but from what I know from all the calls and talks we had, he’s fine.”
Despite how easy it is to get all doom and gloom about the international break injuries, it appears as though we may have avoided the worst case scenarios, knock on wood.