Virgil van Dijk is in line to make his return to action with Liverpool this week, nine months after the knee injury that wrecked the Reds' Premier League title defense.
Van Dijk has been sidelined since October when a clash with Jordan Pickford in the Merseyside derby led to him injuring the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, causing him to miss both the remainder of the campaign and the Netherlands' involvement in Euro 2020.
However Van Dijk could make his return -- albeit for limited minutes -- in a preseason friendly against Hertha Berlin in Austria on Thursday.
"I hope, I am not sure, that there is the opportunity that Virgil could play a few minutes," Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said.
"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."
Van Dijk was one of three Liverpool defenders to suffer season-ending injuries in the 2020-21 campaign with Joe Gomez damaging his knee on international duty in the following month. The game against Hertha Berlin may come too soon for the England center back, who is instead in line to return against Athletic Bilbao in a friendly at Anfield next week.
"Joey is very close," Klopp said. "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 but there is no rush for us.
"It is not about they now need five pre-season games to be ready for the start or whatever. It is a long season and we prepare them after these very serious injuries for the rest of their careers and not for the first game of the season."
Joel Matip has also regained fitness after an ankle injury ruled him out for the season in January whilst Liverpool's sole piece of major business so far this summer saw them recruit Ibrahima Konate from RB Leipzig for around $50million to swell Klopp's options at center back.