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VAN DIJK UPDATE Jurgen Klopp reacts to reports Virgil van Dijk could make a return to action sooner than expected

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Virgil Van Dijk’s defensive presence helped Liverpool to their first Premier League title last season (Paul Ellis/PA)

Virgil Van Dijk’s defensive presence helped Liverpool to their first Premier League title last season (Paul Ellis/PA)

PA

Virgil Van Dijk’s defensive presence helped Liverpool to their first Premier League title last season (Paul Ellis/PA)

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has given his verdict on suggestions that Virgil van Dijk could make a swift return to action in 2021.

Van Dijk suffered cruciate ligament damage in a clash with Everton's Jordan Pickford in October, with the talismanic Dutch defender expected to miss the rest of the season after surgery.

The sight of Van Dijk working out at Liverpool's new training base fueled hopes among the club's fans that he could be back in action sooner than expected, yet Klopp is realistic in his expectations.

"He's as good as you can be in this situation," stated the Liverpool manager, as quoted by the Liverpool Echo.

"Virgil is a very positive person and since he overcame the shock of the actual injury, he is in a really good mood and working hard to get back.

"But this is a very long, long-term injury so it was still, I have to say, a crazy challenge which I still don't understand. I don't think about it, but you ask me and it comes up.

"It is a very, very serious injury and it will take time, but he makes the steps he can make in the moment."

Van Dijk could target a return at the back end of this season, but a more realistic target would be a comeback in the second half of 2021.

Meanwhile, the Sunday World understands that Liverpool are hopeful of having midfielder Thiago Alcantara in the mix for a return to first team training at the back end of this month.

Thiago has not played since a shocking tackle from Everton midfielder Richarlison left him struggling in the same Merseyside derby that put Van Dijk on the sidelines.

While Thiago has yet to return to first team training, there is a hope that he can get back involved with the group despite still suffering discomfort in his knee.

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