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Jurgen Klopp Gives Updates on Wijnaldum, Van Dijk Ahead of Club World Cup Final

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistDecember 20, 2019

DOHA, QATAR - DECEMBER 17: Liverpool Head Coach Juergen Klopp talks during FIFA Club World Cup Pre Match Press Conference prior the Semi-Final match between Monterrey and Liverpool FC at Education City Stadium on December 17, 2019 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images)
Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is hopeful Georginio Wijnaldum and Virgil van Dijk can recover in time to face Flamengo in Saturday's 2019 FIFA Club World Cup final.

Neither player was part of the squad that defeated Monterrey 2-1 on Wednesday to reach the tournament final in Doha, Qatar. Wijnaldum was taken off with a muscle injury in last Saturday's 2-0 Premier League win over Watford, while Van Dijk was absent in midweek due to illness.

Manager Klopp told reporters on Friday: "We will see on both things, actually. Virgil was part of training today. Gini (Wijnaldum) had a session. We will see how it looks at the end. We have no new concerns. We will use each hour for recovery and we will see who we can line up tomorrow."

Liverpool will play at Khalifa International Stadium for the second time in four days having defeated Monterrey in injury time thanks to Roberto Firmino's close-range finish:

Club captain Jordan Henderson moved from midfield into central defence as cover for Van Dijk, while substitutes Firmino and Trent Alexander-Arnold, the Brazilian's injury-time assistant, played vital roles off the bench.

Wijnaldum was the only member of Klopp's 20-man squad in Doha who wasn't present in the team's full training session on Friday morning, per Ian Doyle of the Liverpool Echo:

Ian Doyle @IanDoyleSport

The #LFC players put through paces at Qatar University - everyone there, Virgil van Dijk included, apart from Gini Wijnaldum 🔴 https://t.co/uzunUXtr0D

Van Dijk didn't feature in any of Liverpool's three Carabao Cup games, and the Club World Cup semi-final was only his fourth absence of the campaign thus far.

The Netherlands star looked in high spirits during Friday's session following his bout of illness:

Liverpool FC @LFC

📍 Q A T A R https://t.co/JjRpRzcnNE

Klopp praised the work of centre-back stand-in Henderson, per The Athletic's James Pearce:

James Pearce @JamesPearceLFC

Klopp on Van Dijk: "It was an easy decision because he couldn't train. He didn't feel well. Difficult for Hendo to deal with but he did really well."

Liverpool under-23s coach Neil Critchley led a second-string team of youngsters to Aston Villa on Tuesday, when the Reds suffered a 5-0 demolition in the League Cup quarter-finals.

The Times' Bill Edgar illustrated the squad's strength in depth by naming a lethal-looking lineup of players who failed to feature in that fixture nor Wednesday's win over Monterrey:

Bill Edgar @BillEdgarTimes

Liverpool XI of players who will not have started either their Carabao Cup or Club World Cup game. (3-4-3) Adrian – Matip, Van Dijk, Lovren – Alexander-Arnold, Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Clyne – Brewster, Firmino, Mane

Flamengo won the 2019 Copa Libertadores under manager Jorge Jesus, whom Klopp lauded by saying he had "changed pretty much everything" at the Rio de Janeiro club since his arrival in June.

Liverpool are targeting their maiden Club World Cup on Saturday, 14 years after they suffered a 1-0 defeat to another Brazilian outfit, Sao Paulo, in their only previous appearance in the tournament's final.