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Jamie Carragher urges Liverpool ‘to be careful’ with returning defender Virgil Van Dijk


Virgil Van Dijk made his return to first team football in a friendly against Hertha Berlin on Thursday. (Getty)

Jamie Carragher has urged Liverpool to manage the workload of Virgil Van Dijk following his return from injury. 

The Dutch centre back made his comeback after nine months out with a knee injury in a 4-3 friendly defeat to German side Hertha Berlin on Thursday.

Between now and the start of the Premier League season, Van Dijk, who sustained in a clash with Jordan Pickford at Goodison Park back in October 2020, and the rest of his Liverpool side have four pre-season matches in order to gain more match fitness. 

The Reds have two back-to-back matches against Italian side Bologna next Thursday before two home games in two days against Athletic Bilbao and Osasuna. 

And Carragher believes that Van Dijk needs to be slowly eased back into full first-team action after so long out.

‘I think we have to be careful and I think Jurgen Klopp will be. I don’t think we should expect that Van Dijk comes back into Liverpool and Liverpool are going to automatically win the league again this season. He’s had a really serious injury and he’s got to make sure he is not rushed back,’ Carragher said. 

Van Dijk was out for nine months following a knee injury sustained against Everton. (Getty)

‘If he’s back to his best he is the best central defender in world football and that’s what Liverpool will want over the next five or six years, not the next five or six weeks.

‘If he doesn’t make the first game of the season it’s not the end of the world, it is about making sure Virgil van Dijk is 100 per cent right so he’s in a position where he can have the next five or six years at Liverpool at a top level.

Jamie Carragher has urged Liverpool to be careful with the Dutch defender. (Getty)

‘It may be a gentle start with Virgil until we see him when he is 100 percent right, but if that could be on that first game of the season and he can play the next few games I think everyone would be delighted.’

Following the injuries to both Van Dijk and Joe Gomez last season, Klopp decided to bring in Leipzig’s Ibrahima Konate to strengthen the area.

But following the return of all of his central defenders, he now has a difficult decision to make. 

Liverpool signed Ibrahima Konate (left) and also have Joel Matip (right) to play at centre half. (Getty)

‘I don’t really envy Klopp picking that centre-back partnership for the first game. Right now, if everyone is at their absolute best, the partnership has always been Gomez and Van Dijk, but I think it is going to be difficult for them to be at their absolute best as both have had serious, long-term injuries,’ Carragher said.

‘Whether Konate can break that one up… and (Joel) Matip always comes in and does a very good job,’ he added.


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