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reds blow Virgil van Dijk set to remain on Liverpool's squad list despite Jurgen Klopp's words of caution

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Virgil Van Dijk faces at least six months on the sidelines (Peter Byrne/PA)

Virgil Van Dijk faces at least six months on the sidelines (Peter Byrne/PA)

Virgil Van Dijk faces at least six months on the sidelines (Peter Byrne/PA)

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has played down expectation that Virgil van Dijk is making rapid progress toward a comeback after admitting he is not counting on him to play this season.

Van Dijk damaged his crucial ligament in a clash with Everton keeper Jordan Pickford back in October, but he has been posting images of what appeared to be a rapid recovery on his social media networks in recent weeks.

Holland head coach Frank De Boer suggested he expected Van Dijk to be available for him to select for this summer's European Championship finals, after he had an encouraging conversation with the Liverpool centre-back.

Yet Klopp has suggested be would be surprised to see Van Dijk again this season, even though he will include the centre-back on his updated squad lists for the Premier League and Champions League when they are released later this week.

"Whatever happens, I think we have space for Virgil on the Champions League list," said Klopp.

"I think he was on the Premier League list. Nobody told me I have to change something with that. If we have space in the Champions League list then Virgil will be on the list,” said the boss.

"In the moment, I don’t know where these things are coming from – nobody really, no doctor, nobody really told me there’s a chance for Virgil to play in this season again.

"I don’t want to say that’s absolutely impossible but it’s not likely. It’s not likely. We don’t have to discuss these things really.

"If we have space we would put them all on, even when all the medical people tell us there’s no chance. We put them on because we believe in miracles from time to time.

"But if there’s no place then we have to consider these kind of things and say, ‘The chance is not too big so we have to make the decision.’ But if they are on the list then it’s only because we hope for nearly a miracle. That’s it."

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sundayworld.com reported last month that Van Dijk may be rushing his comeback if he played again this season, with former Manchester United medial expert Matty Radcliffe confirming an ACL injury has a strict timetable of recovery.

"The programme required to come back from this type of injury is tried and tested and you can't really consider taking shortcuts," Radcliffe told us.

"I have worked with a lot of players coming back from cruciate ligament injuries and you need to build up slowly and make sure you don't try to come back too soon.

"A player may feel like he is ready to play before he is medically safe to do so and the job of the physio and everyone around the player is to make sure there is no temptation to come back for a specific match or maybe a World Cup or European Championships."

Klopp also gave his verdict on Liverpool's new defensive signings Ozan Kabak, as he insisted Schalke's miserable season in the Bundesliga was not his fault.

"In the last few weeks he has had a really tough time. Schalke had a lot of problems this season but that is nothing to do with Ozan," said Klopp, with Schalke bottom of the Bundesliga.

"He has a lot of quality and he is still a talent. In a stable team he can do a lot of things really good.

"Everyone knows it all about Ozan. 20, fourth season in pro football. Schalke has a lot of problems but nothing to do with Ozan.

"Ozan is still a talent and has proven a lot. He is here now in a stable team. He can help us and we can help him. Our situation is really strange. We are without our four centre-backs. We needed players."

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