Head coach Jurgen Klopp says he will be cautious about fielding new Liverpool record signing Virgil van Dijk until he has adjusted to his new surroundings.
The Dutch defender sealed a £75million move from Southampton as the transfer window opened again for the New Year, but Klopp is not about to rush Van Dijk into the action, instead preferring to let the centre-back find his feet in training.
We need time. A pre-season is for that usually, but we don’t have a pre-season.Jurgen Klopp
Klopp told the club’s official website after a dramatic 2-1 Premier League victory at Burnley: “We made a few tests that make sense for him and for us, to see where he stands. There is no rush, we have to make sure he can perform.
“We need time. A pre-season is for that usually, but we don’t have a pre-season. After the Everton (FA Cup) game we have a little bit more time, that will help.
“But it’s a long-term project, so it’s not important when he makes his first game, it’s important how many good games he will play for Liverpool. That’s what I’m interested in.”
The Reds take on their city rivals Everton in the FA Cup third round on Friday evening, with Klopp also admitting that Philippe Coutinho and Mohamed Salah are doubts for that game, having both missed out against the Clarets at Turf Moor.
Brazilian playmaker Coutinho is being bothered by a thigh injury, while goal machine Salah has a slight groin problem.
Liverpool and Everton last met in the FA Cup in April 2012, when a late Andy Carroll goal gave the Reds a 2-1 semi-final victory.
The hosts are 2/5 to win in normal time on Friday evening, with both teams to score priced at 4/5, while Liverpool are available at 9/1 to win the FA Cup for the eighth time this season.