Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp put an end to any hopes that starting center-backs Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez could be back for the upcoming UEFA European championships this summer, let alone the end of the Premier League season.
“So, not that I don’t let them go because I don’t want to have to do that anyway, but it’s because of the extent of the injury. We all hope that they will be ready to start the pre-season with us. That’s what we hope.”
Since van Dijk’s knee surgery in October and Gomez’s ACL injury in November, the defending Premier League champions have struggled to even put themselves in reach of qualifying for next season’s Champions League. Injuries across the board, including to the club’s No. 3 center-back Joel Matip and midfielders-turned-defensive-replacements Fabinho and Jordan Henderson, have led Klopp to experiment with 20 different center-back pairings this season compared to just five last year.
While it was always a long shot that van Dijk and Gomez would be able to return for the final stretch of Liverpool’s season, the news comes as a blow to the duo’s Euro 2020 hopes with van Dijk serving as the Netherlands captain and Gomez once expected to challenge for a starting spot in England’s lineup.
“These are really serious injuries,” Klopp said. “And it’s not about now that we talk [about] which competition they can play. As far as I know—and I’m always open for positive surprises, now they all of a sudden show up in team training—but nobody told me that.”