Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has again attempted to deter Holland boss Frank de Boer from taking Virgil van Dijk to this summer’s EUROs.
Van Dijk has been unavailable since mid-October after suffering a serious ACL injury in the Merseyside derby. Many have attributed Liverpool’s struggles this term to his absence, with the defender arguably the most influential player in the side. Indeed, they have been much more suspect at the back without him, conceding 28 league goals since he was sidelined.
However, the Dutchman is now well on the comeback trail from that knee injury. Earlier this week, he posted an encouraging video of himself out running at Livepool’s Kirkby training base.
That latest update has fans speculating that he could make an appearance before the end of the current campaign. The Anfield club have five games left to play this term, including Sunday’s trip to Manchester United.
Given van Dijk has not yet returned to team training, a Premier League appearance may be optimistic. However, he may be in with a chance of featuring for Holland in the EUROs, which start next month. The Netherlands are in Group C alongside Ukraine, Austria, North Macedonia, with their first game scheduled for 13th June.
Van dijk should not be rushed
While the possibility of having him available may be exciting to ‘oranje’ boss de Boer, he has been urged to put the player’s long-term fitness first by Klopp.
As quoted by the Daily Mail, he said: “I don’t want to hold Virgil back, but you can’t force it as well. You are all long enough in the business to know that if you want to play you have to train before – and proper football training.
“It takes weeks. Not a week before. You cannot be 10 or 11 months out, train for one week and then play football. That is not possible, it should not be possible.
“No one is holding Virgil back. I can promise all the people in Holland that we cannot force it, and we will not.
“We speak about a player and his career, so nobody should force it and nobody will. Not Holland, not us and not Virgil as well. It’s just about getting as fit as possible.
“Nobody knows at the moment when that will be exactly. But you can imagine for sure it will be very, very tight with the Euros because he is not in team training yet and will not be in the next few weeks.
“So I don’t know. But in the end it’s a decision of Virgil and he will get massively influenced by the feeling in his knee.”
Last month, de Boer hinted that whether van Dijk participates in the tournament will be his own choice.
But van Dijk has not ruled himself out of taking part, meaning his club manager may face an anxious summer if the 29-year-old is included in the squad.