Virgil van Dijk Fitness A Doubt For Flamengo

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Virgil van Dijk
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 14: (THE SUN OUT, THE SUN ON SUNDAY OUT) Virgil van Dijk of Liverpool before the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Watford FC at Anfield on December 14, 2019 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

Liverpool will play South American champions Flamengo on Saturday as they seek to secure their second trophy of the season. Should they win, Jurgen Klopp’s side will make history as the first Liverpool side to win the Club World Cup. However, they are sweating on the fitness of Virgil van Dijk ahead of the game.

Virgil van Dijk Fitness Concern

Liverpool Hoping for Virgil van Dijk Return

Virgil van Dijk missed the semi-final against Monterrey through illness. Klopp had previously suggested that he would be available, though after the game it emerged that he had not trained for three days. Liverpool are down to their bare bones in terms of central defenders due to injuries to Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip so will be hoping for the Dutchman to return. Captain Jordan Henderson slotted in alongside Joe Gomez during the semi-final. He may do so again if the Dutchman isn’t fit to play. However, this may not be necessary as the squad has been bolstered by the arrival of Ki-Jana Hoever.

Alisson impressed against Monterrey making several key saves to keep Liverpool in the game and will remain in goal. The Club World Cup allows teams to name the rest of the squad as their substitutes, so Adrian, Andrew Lonergan and Caohmin Kelleher will all be on the bench.

Andrew Robertson should continue at left-back, while in a game with a trophy on the line, Trent Alexander-Arnold will come in for James Milner at right-back.

Naby Keita‘s Purple Patch

Naby Keita has been impressive in his recent performances for Liverpool. The Guinea international has four goals and an assist in his last five appearances. He cut an impressive figure in midfield against Monterrey and will hope to retain his place.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has also been a model of consistency this season and will hope to start the final. Assuming that van Dijk is fit, Jordan Henderson should play the holding role with Adam Lallana dropping to the bench. Georginio Wijnaldum travelled to Qatar and may be an option, but there has been no word on his fitness following his injury.

The Egyptian King

Whisper it quietly, but Mohamed Salah is showing signs of returning to his best. He was arguably the Reds’ best outfield player against Monterrey and registered a lovely assist for Keita’s goal. He will be hoping to get on the score sheet and help this Liverpool side to another piece of silverware.

Divock Origi and Xherdan Shaqiri both started against Monterrey, though both failed to impress. Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino will, therefore, come back into the side, especially given the Brazilian’s late heroics. Klopp will want to win this trophy and what better way to do that than by playing your best side?

Predicted XI: Alisson, Andrew Robertson, Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Jordan Henderson, Naby Keita, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah

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