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Klopp: Alisson nearing Liverpool comeback

Alisson Becker has “made steps” towards recovering from a calf injury, but Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has said he will not rush the goalkeeper back into the fold.

The Brazil international, who sustained the problem during the first half of the 4-1 victory over Norwich City at Anfield on Aug. 9, was expected to be out for around six weeks, with half that timeframe having now elapsed.

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After Liverpool’s trip to Burnley on Saturday, there is a 14-day gap owing to an international break before they host Newcastle United on Sept. 14. There is no desire from the club to escalate Alisson’s rehabilitation during this period, despite the failure of the European champions to keep a clean sheet so far this season.

“He has made steps of course, but it was a proper injury, so it will still take time,” Klopp said during a media briefing at Melwood on Thursday.

“How it always is with professional sportsmen, when you have a muscle thing and it takes long, then it takes a while as well until you can bring the muscle to at least the same level it was before.

“A calf muscle is pretty important for jumping — and for a goalie, it is quite important that you can jump from time-to-time, so it will take time.”

Klopp said that being without Alisson, named the 2018-19 Champions League Goalkeeper of the Season by UEFA on Wednesday night, has been a sizeable setback for Liverpool.

The German said, however, he is pleased with the contribution of Adrian between the sticks. The No. 2, signed as a free agent this summer, has had the chance to settle and get match sharp after being thrust into the starting lineup following Alisson’s injury.

“Thank God — and hopefully it stays like this — we have a fit Adrian in the back and now in charge, which is good,” Klopp said. “So far, I am really happy with everything I saw.

“He is a good guy, which is important as well, but most importantly of course he can catch balls and that’s good as well.

“The solution we found for it is really good, but of course it would be better if Ali was around but that will take still some time.”

Virgil van Dijk was Liverpool’s other big winner at the Champions League draw in Monaco, scooping both the Defender of the Season accolade as well as the main prize — Men’s Player of the Year.

“I expected him to be a world class centre-half,” Klopp said on the £75 million recruit signed from Southampton in January 2018, who beat Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo to the top honour.

“That’s why we paid what we paid. I wasn’t the only one at the club to think that.”

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