Liverpool star Virgil van Dijk is in line to make a return to action in today’s pre-season friendly against Hertha Berlin (6.20pm).
The Dutch ace has been out with a serious knee injury since last October, suffering ligament tears in a challenge from Jordan Pickford in the Merseyside derby.
And after a long road to recovery, the defensive lynchpin could get a runout today.
In another boost to Reds boss Jurgen Klopp, Van Dijk’s centreback partner Joe Gomez is also close to making his way back onto the pitch.
Ahead of today’s warm-up match, Klopp says: “I hope, I am not sure, that there is the opportunity that Virgil could play a few minutes.
“He looks really good in training and maybe we can bring [him in], but I need to have some final conversations. He looks ready and we will see. If you see the games now as part of their rehab training, that makes sense.
“Joey [Gomez] is very close. There is no race between the two of them. They had different injuries and stuff like this, but [he is] very close.
“If Virgil can play now 20 then probably Joey can in the game after. We will see. In training they both look really good. I think from time to time there are some pictures of them from training sessions and everyone can see how good it looks, but there is no rush for us.
“It is a long season and we prepare them after these very, very serious injuries for the rest of their careers and not for the first game of the season.”