Jurgen Klopp issues positive update on Virgil Van Dijk ahead of ‘massive game’ against Newcastle United

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has said he is looking forward to their ‘massive game’ against Newcastle United on Saturday in his pre-match press conference.

The Reds picked up a valuable three points in the Merseyside derby on Monday, triumphing 2-0 over Everton at Anfield.

Cody Gakpo opened his Liverpool account in the clash, while Mohamed Salah also netted, which gives him an opportunity to get his goal-scoring back on track.

The German coach has also issued updates on the injuries of Roberto Firmino, Diogo Jota, Luis Diaz and others, as they near a return to full fitness.

Their upcoming game against the Magpies is a big one in the context of the season, and could reignite Liverpool’s hopes of qualifying for Europe next season.

Firstly, speaking on injuries, Klopp said: “Same squad as Monday night. Ibou not yet, Luis not yet. But that’s it pretty much.

“Nothing happened on injury side. Thiago out. Calvin had surgery, not available.

“It was important [for Jota and Firmino to make the bench against Everton] but they need the time. We tried to allow them some minutes as early as possible.

“Whatever you do in training, the first 10-15 minutes of a game feel like torture.”

But, Klopp’s focus is now fully on their match at St. James’ Park on Saturday, which as mentioned, could have a big impact on their season.

“Massive game. We have to chase everybody. We have to give it a try and that’s what we do. Newcastle, best defence in the league.

“They have lost once and that was against us. Very consistent. First step for success. It will be interesting. It has always been a tough place or us to go and hopefully we can build on the performance on Monday.

“Our other wins after World Cup were different, this time [against Everton] it was ‘us’ and we can build on that.”

Klopp also heaped praise on Newcastle manager Eddie Howe, who has guided his team to fourth place in the Premier League table.

“Eddie is doing an absolutely exceptional job. The financial possibilities they will have in the future are exceptional but it [their success] is not because of that. They built on the team they had.

“Eddie has made Newcastle a proper threat for everyone. It is a really difficult place to go.

“I always like Almiron and the way they are playing now suits him.

“The only difference between the way us and Newcastle have done business so far is where the money has come from. You have to do it step by step.”

Klopp has also confirmed Virgil van Dijk is fit to start at Newcastle tomorrow after being on the bench against Everton, which will come as a major boost to him.

“Yesterday (in training), he looked absolutely ready.”

He also heaped praise on Stefan Bajetic, as he put in a Player of the Match performance in the derby, playing alongside Fabinho and Jordan Henderson in midfield.

“So far there are no signs [Bajetic] needs a rest. But we have other players as well.

“Stefan played exceptional. Not because he is 18, because he played exceptional. It was for sure Fabinho’s best game in a long, long while and Hendo was exceptional.

“Stefan is a top player. It’s a joy to work with him. The mix of Serbia and Spain is good for his football.

“He’s an intelligent boy. Interesting that his dad and Thiago’s dad played together. Thiago took him under his wing. An absolute joy.

“We had some senior players not (able to get) in the squad for the first time in a long time. We have options now.

“We had a lot of senior players not involved in the squad for the first time. The options are there. It’s massive. Bobby was eight weeks, Diogo was longer. We have to look how we can use them.”

READ MORE: How Newcastle and Liverpool’s ‘toxic’ rivalry was entirely invented by one man

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