Van Dijk ‘begins light training’ in huge boost to chances of playing this season

Virgil van Dijk has reportedly begun light recovery training, boosting hopes the Liverpool defender could return before the end of the season.

It was feared Van Dijk could miss the rest of the season after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament in a collision with Everton keeper Jordan Pickford last month.

The blow was just the start of a huge injury crisis for the Reds, with Van Dijk's centre-back partner Joe Gomez also facing a long spell out after suffering a ruptured patella tendon on England last week.

Jurgen Klopp is missing several first-team stars as he prepares his side to face Premier League leaders Leicester at Anfield on Sunday.

Trent-Alexander Arnold and Mohamed Salah are definitely out, while Klopp must run the rule over Andy Robertson, Fabinho and Thiago Alcantara after they returned to training after recent injuries.

But Van Dijk has given his manager a huge boost by returning to low impact training following his recent surgery, according to the Daily Mail.

The Dutch colossus is in the first phase of his recovery after successful ACL surgery last month following his injury in the Merseyside derby draw.

It is not known yet whether he is ahead of schedule in his recovery, but his return to light training is good news for Liverpool as he prepares for a second, more intensive period of rehab.

The injuries to Van Dijk and Gomez have left Joel Matip as the club's only fit, senior centre-back, although the Reds have Nat Phillips, 23, and Rhys Williams, 19, to back him up.

Left-back Andy Robertson should be available for Sunday's meeting with Leicester after playing for Scotland in midweek following a hamstring injury, while Neco Williams will step in for Alexander-Arnold at right-back.

Fabinho and Thiago returned to first-team training this week after recent injuries, while it remains to be seen whether skipper Jordan Henderson will be fit after suffering a muscle problem on England duty.

Salah is out of Sunday's game after a second positive test for coronavirus while with the Egypt national team this week.

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