Man City: Guardiola says Liverpool still in title race
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Virgil van Dijk is back in England as the Liverpool defender steps up his rehabilitation from injury. The Dutchman has been in Dubai, training at the Nad al Sheba Complex for the last few months.
Van Dijk has been out of action since October, when he suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury during the Merseyside derby against Everton.
He has spent the majority of his time since, recovering in Dubai and taking advantage of the facilities at the complex.
Due to the nature of his injury, the majority of his work has involved yoga session, exercise bikes and strength and conditioning sessions.
Liverpool fans were also offered a glimpse of the talismanic defender with the ball at his feet, with hopes being raised about a comeback this season.
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Those hopes were seemingly extinguished by manager Jurgen Klopp, who suggested he would be surprised if the defender plays again this season.
Klopp named van Dijk in his Premier League squad at the end of the January window but suggested that was due to simply having room remaining.
“Whatever happens, I think we have space for Virgil on the Champions League list,” he said.
“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.
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“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.”
But now, according to the ECHO, van Dijk will continue his recovery at Liverpool’s new AXA Training Centre in Kirkby, after flying back to the country last week.
He will now work closely with club doctors as he looks to get back in shape for a return to the pitch as quickly as possible.
Upon his return to England, van Dijk will be given a tailored training regime in order to aid the recovery process.
Liverpool managed to negotiate their way through the early parts of the season without the club’s most expensive signing, but have capitulated since with a run of just two wins in their last nine league games.
Their latest defeat, a 3-1 loss vs Leicester City, leaves the Reds ten points behind leaders Manchester City having played a game more.
After losing to the Foxes, Klopp all-but conceded the title, saying: “I don’t think we can close the gap this year, to be honest. We have to win football games, and a large part of our game today was very good.”
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