Van Dijk and Gomez return in Liverpool defeat to Hertha

By Sports Desk July 29, 2021

Liverpool defenders Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez made their long-awaited returns from injury as substitutes in a 4-3 friendly loss against Hertha Berlin on Thursday.

Van Dijk had not featured since a clash with Jordan Pickford in October's Merseyside derby left him needing anterior cruciate ligament surgery on his right leg.

Centre-back partner Gomez had experienced a similar spell on the sidelines, having also suffered a knee injury.

Jurgen Klopp eased the pair back into action, bringing them on for 20-minute cameos in the Reds' final pre-season game in Austria.

Liverpool may well have been grateful for the defensive pairing earlier, given they fell two goals behind courtesy of strikes from Santiago Ascacibar and Suat Serdar.

Sadio Mane and Takumi Minamino restored parity before Stevan Jovetic's brace gave Hertha a two-goal advantage once again.

Gomez was cautioned before Netherlands captain Van Dijk saw his header saved, but Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain finished for Liverpool's third following up.

Diogo Jota and Andrew Robertson also appeared for the first time in pre-season as they both came off the bench for the Reds.

Speaking to LFCTV before Thursday's clash, Klopp confirmed that Liverpool will take on Bologna in two hour-long friendlies at a training camp in France.

"It’s now the last game in Austria, then we go to France, we have two 60-minute games against Bologna there," Klopp said.

"Then we get home – finally, Anfield is calling! We’re getting closer. The season is not too far away anymore, so we should be better prepared."

Related items

  • Barcelona agree deal to sign Turkish Super Lig's youngest goalscorer Emre Demir Barcelona agree deal to sign Turkish Super Lig's youngest goalscorer Emre Demir

    Barcelona have reached an agreement with Turkish club Kayserispor to sign attacking midfielder Emre Demir on a five-year deal running to 2027.

    The Catalan giants will pay an initial €2million for the 17-year-old and have set his buyout clause at €400m.

    Demir will remain with Super Lig side Kayserispor for the remainder of 2021-22 before linking up with Barcelona B from the start of next season.

    He has already featured 31 times at senior level and made history in November 2019 when becoming the youngest scorer in the Turkish top flight at 15 years, nine months and 25 days old.

    The youngster, who previously had a trial at Barca's La Masia academy in 2017, will become the third Turkish player to sign for the Catalans after Rustu Recber and Arda Turan.

  • Barcelona president Laporta warns Koeman: If decisions have to be taken, we'll take them Barcelona president Laporta warns Koeman: If decisions have to be taken, we'll take them

    Ronald Koeman's job as Barcelona head coach does not depend on the outcome of Thursday's meeting with Cadiz, but president Joan Laporta has warned that "if decisions have to be taken, we will take them".

    The Dutchman is under growing pressure following a slow start to the campaign that has seen Barca drop points to Athletic Bilbao and Granada in their opening four LaLiga games, while also losing 3-0 to Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

    Amid reports Barca are lining up replacements for Koeman, with Belgium boss Roberto Martinez supposedly among the candidates, Koeman refused to answer any questions from reporters at Wednesday's news conference previewing the trip to Cadiz.

    Koeman instead chose to read a prepared statement in which he urged Barca fans to have patience with the process while claiming the club's hierarchy – including Laporta – was fully behind him.

    There have even been suggestions in the Spanish press that Thursday's clash at Estadio Nuevo Mirandilla could be the 58-year-old's last in charge should Barca fail to pick up all three points.

    While Laporta insisted that is not the case, the Barca chief fell short of guaranteeing that the former Netherlands boss will remain in charge further down the line if results do not pick up.

    "Koeman's future doesn't depend on the result tonight," he told El Chiringuito outside the Barcelona team hotel on Thursday. "We are with the coach. He's Barca's first team coach and what we want is for things to go well.

    "All coaches, not just Koeman, depend on results, and in Barca's case on their style of play. Koeman is our coach and we're with him today."

    Barcelona have failed to win five of their last eight LaLiga games stretching back into last season, as many as in their previous 24 matches in the competition, and are eighth in the table ahead of their game in hand.

    Koeman this week spoke out in the Dutch media about the wider issues at Camp Nou and how Lionel Messi, who departed for Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer last month, papered over the cracks with his individual brilliance.

    But Laporta does not want to use Messi's shock departure, plus the subsequent exit of Antoine Griezmann, as an excuse for Barca's disappointing run of results.

    "We see that the team isn't working as we all were hoping," Laporta said. "In that sense, we'll act thinking always of Barcelona... If decisions have to be taken, we'll take them.

    "What I don't like is a conformist attitude, a certain defeatism, that can't be allowed at Barcelona. We have the team we have, but we can aspire to win LaLiga and the players say to me that we have to be optimistic.

    "We have to work, we have to fight every day, because I believe you achieve success with daily work. Less talking and more doing, more working."

    Barcelona have failed to win their last two LaLiga games against Cadiz (D1 L1). If they fail to win Thursday's match, it will be their longest winless run against the Andalusian side in the competition.

  • Rooney slams Derby owner Morris over 'disrespect' Rooney slams Derby owner Morris over 'disrespect'

    Wayne Rooney has accused Derby County owner Mel Morris of being "disrespectful" and lacking honesty after the Championship club entered administration.

    The Rams' financial woes came to a head when they filed for administration this week, with a 12-point deduction sending them to the foot of the second tier.

    Rooney took permanent charge in January but the former England captain revealed the difficult circumstances he has been working under amid an apparent lack of communication from Morris.

    Derby's football staff were at a meeting with Morris on Tuesday but Manchester United legend Rooney was disappointed not to have one-on-one talks with the chairman as uncertainty mounted. 

    "In my opinion, it wasn't sincere enough, it wasn't heartfelt enough, and it wasn't done with enough honesty," said Rooney ahead of Saturday's trip to Sheffield United.

    "Obviously he has moved on and we have to move on and put Mel Morris to the back of our minds.

    "I personally haven't spoken to Mel Morris since August 9. I still haven't had a one-on-one conversation, no phone call, no text message. Nothing.

    "I find it a bit disrespectful, to be honest. Communication is so important, whether it’s good news or bad news, so we can deal with it.

    "He doesn't have to apologise to me. I just found, as manager of this football club, getting questions from players and staff and not being able to answer, I was hurt by that.

    "He's put a lot of money into the club, and he deserves a lot of respect for that, but there are ways of handling things and it has left me disappointed."

    Derby face the possibility of a further points deduction due to a potential breach of the EFL's Financial Fair Play rules.

    Andrew Hosking, Carl Jackson and Andrew Andronikou of business advisory firm Quantuma have been appointed as the club's administrators.

    Rooney, however, insists he will stay put as long as Derby want him.

    "I have said how committed I am to this job and this club. Nothing changes," he added.

    "I am committed to this football club. I grew up on a council estate in Liverpool. I know how tough life can be.

    "What kind of person would I be if I went and laid on a beach for a few weeks? We can stay up but if we get more points deducted, it will get a lot more difficult."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.