Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is strongly against Virgil van Dijk’s plan to play for his country before his club again, a report claims.
Van Dijk has spent the majority of the season out with a serious knee injury he suffered in October.
However, he has stepped up his recovery in the past few weeks, working outside on Liverpool’s training pitches.
As such, hope remains that he could land a role with the Netherlands at this summer’s delayed European Championships. Indeed, the Daily Mirror reports that Van Dijk wants to make a beeline for the international tournament.
However, the newspaper adds that Klopp and his medical team feel ‘horrified’ at the prospect of him doing so.
Conversely, Liverpool figures want Van Dijk to complete an intensive pre-season regime over the summer. They hope that doing so will get him ready to slot straight back into the team next season.
Returning to top-level football too soon could aggravate the injury, as pointed out by former Wales and Holland assistant coach Raymond Verheijen.
“As soon as [Van Dijk] is back on the pitch for Liverpool the door will be open to the Euros,” he said.
“If he has zero minutes it will mean that after a long and careful recovery at Liverpool he will suddenly be exposed to something different with Holland – and that always brings risks.
“Virgil will have to weigh up everything by that time and make sure he makes the right decision.”
Netherlands-based newspaper De Telegraaf has previously pointed out that Van Dijk has a strong relationship with Klopp.
Therefore, the defender will ‘not do ill-considered things’. However, the Mirror‘s report claims that Klopp and Van Dijk remain on a ‘collision course’ over the player’s plans for his return.
Klopp has ruled out early Van Dijk return
Klopp, who also has Van Dijk’s fellow centre-backs Joe Gomez and Joel Matip to welcome back from injury, insisted earlier this month that a prompt return for the former pair remains “unlikely”.
The manager said: “It is not my decision but to be honest the information I have at the moment is that it will be unlikely.
“So [it’s] not that I don’t let them go, because I don’t want to have to do that anyway, it is because of the extent of the injuries.
“We all hope they will be ready to start pre-season with us, that’s what we all hope. With Joel it is pretty much the same.
“These are really serious injuries and it is now not about talking about which competition they play.”