Despite Jurgen Klopp‘s assertion that it is “unlikely” Virgil van Dijk will be fit enough to feature at this summer’s Euros, reports in his native Netherlands claim otherwise.
Van Dijk is continuing his rehabilitation at Kirkby following an ACL injury suffered in October, with the centre-back making strong progress as he works his way back to full fitness.
His presence at the training ground and on matchdays at Anfield has raised hopes that he could feature for Liverpool before the end of the season, which would fit in with his initial recovery timeframe.
However, speaking last week, Klopp claimed that it is “unlikely” either Van Dijk or Joe Gomez would be ready for the summer’s European Championship.
Van Dijk is further along in his recovery than Gomez and Joel Matip, with the manager explaining that “Virgil is already running but this is a tough one,” but the belief is that pre-season should be a realistic return date.
But De Telegraaf have responded to Klopp’s words but insisting that “Van Dijk has anything but put this summer’s European Championship out of his mind.”
They claim that the No. 4 “does not want to make a decision about participation until later this season,” and that he “does not consider himself written off” for the tournament, which kicks off on June 11.
The Netherlands are first in action on June 13, with their first Group C clash against Ukraine, before further meetings with Austria (June 17) and North Macedonia (June 21).
It goes without saying that Frank de Boer would prefer to be able to call upon Van Dijk, his captain, for those games, but De Telegraaf are quick to stress that this is unlikely to provoke a club vs. country situation.
“There is a good relationship between the player and Klopp and the Dutchman will not do ill-considered things,” they write.
Van Dijk, though, “says that the recovery is going well to this day,” with the player himself likely hopeful that he will be back on the pitch in enough time to prove himself fit for the summer.
His involvement could be considered a risk, particularly if he is rushed back into a prominent role, and Klopp’s fingers will be crossed that Van Dijk does not gamble on his fitness in order to represent the Netherlands.