Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez will be absent again when Liverpool face Hertha Berlin in their next friendly, with Jürgen Klopp unwilling to risk the pair.
Van Dijk and Gomez were a welcome addition to the pre-season preparations in Austria and took part in ball training with the rest of the squad after long-term injuries.
But the center-back duo is still facing a test match with Ibrahima Konate, Joel Matip, Rhys Williams, Ben Davies, Nat Phillips and Billy Koumetio, who all gave minutes against Wacker Innsbruck, Stuttgart and Mainz.
Liverpool’s next appearance is against Hertha Berlin on Thursday night and although it is almost a week before the game, Van Dijk and Gomez will still be out.
In an interview with LFCTV after the Reds 1-0 victory over Mainz, Klopp explained why he would “not risk it” as he has an eye on their fitness and the upcoming campaign.
“Yes, unfortunately I would still be surprised,” he said when asked if they would be available next week.
“They look really good, they do everything. They play football, we keep them training, we do what we can. You don’t do too much.
“We have to be patient. We are preparing for a full season, not a pre-season game.
“I won’t risk it. We have a lot of games, preparation games, but I don’t see them being included in the next one.
While it may be disappointing to the fans considering how long Van Dijk and Gomez have been out and how long they have been back in training, it seems like the right decision to keep them out for longer.
Although they need time to build up, and the pre-season friendlies are ideal for this, throwing back too early after major surgery could force another injury, which would be catastrophic.
With Konate and Matip impressing as part of the starting XI against Mainz, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them face Norwich on August 14th.
When it comes to Van Dijk and Gomez, patient waiting is required and hopefully it will pay off at some point.