Dutch legend Marco van Basten has insisted Liverpool would be the beneficiaries of a scenario Jurgen Klopp was previously said to be ‘horrified’ about happening.
In the absence of their talismanic defender, Liverpool have endured a nightmare campaign. Other injuries have hit hard, but the loss of Van Dijk has been the biggest blow to their challenge for silverware on all fronts.
The Dutch colossus suffered what was initially described as a season-ending knee injury versus Everton in October.
Despite the Reds’ perils this year, Liverpool are understood to be in no rush to hasten his return to action.
However, with the Euros upcoming this summer and the Netherlands enjoying somewhat of a resurgence, national team boss Frank De Boer began counting down the weeks until his return.
Klopp was previously said to be ‘horrified’ at the thought of his star defender returning for his country before his club.
Instead, Liverpool will seek to have Van Dijk complete an intensive pre-season regime over the summer.
Now, Dutch legend Van Basten has given an alternative view. He has insisted Van Dijk’s return to action with Netherlands could in fact be of benefit to Liverpool.
“If Virgil van Dijk goes with Holland to the European Championships in June and is going to train himself up to his peak strength then he will be able to play a few matches,” said Van Basten (via the Mirror).
“That will benefit the player but also his club.
“Virgil will be in his best shape for Liverpool and Klopp. That’s because he will be playing at the top level for the start of next season.”
That will set alarm bells ringing at Anfield. Especially after former Wales and Holland assistant coach Raymond Verheijen pointed out the potential pitfalls last month.
“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.”
Barcelona squad powerplay puts Wijnaldum move in doubt
Meanwhile, Georginio Wijnaldum may have to reassess his future amid Spanish reports Barcelona will abandon their plan to sign him.
Wijnaldum continues to be linked with a move to the Catalan club, where he would join up with Ronald Koeman. Koeman is reportedly keen to take him to Spain after being impressed during his time in charge of Holland. And with Wijnaldum set to be out of contract this summer, he has a perfect opportunity to secure his services.
News of the switch has since been in short supply, however, and Mundo Deportivo now report that Barcelona are ready to abandon their planned swoop for Wijnaldum.
They claim senior players at Barcelona have met with Koeman and told him they don’t want Wijnaldum to sign.
They claim, with young talent Ilaix Moriba breaking through, Barca would be better making other additions instead.