Liverpool are on a collision course with Holland over whether Virgil van Dijk should play in this summer’s European Championship.
Van Dijk has not played since rupturing his cruciate ligament against Everton on October 17, and it looks increasingly likely he will find himself caught between the needs of his club and country. Frank de Boer, the Dutch national coach, says he has been encouraged by Van Dijk’s recovery and is not ruling out the 29-year-old being included in his squad.
“I think he has to decide. It is his career,” De Boer told ESPN. “I can imagine that he is in a dilemma. I hope he has made giant steps in his rehabilitation.”
Such an optimistic tone is at odds with Liverpool’s more cautious approach. Having lost their £75 million defender for all but five games of their title defence, the last thing they want is for Van Dijk to return prematurely and suffer a setback.
Jurgen Klopp has been asked regularly about Van Dijk’s chances of making the Euros, and has made it clear that he believes his most realistic target is pre-season training.
Klopp recently said Van Dijk still had “a lot of steps” to take before he was ready for top-level football, suggesting the images of the central defender on the training ground did not mean he was close to playing.
Meanwhile, supporters’ group Spirit of Shankly are to hold their second meeting with the club this week as bridges continue to be rebuilt following the backlash to the club’s involvement in the failed European Super League.
Last week SOS met with chief executive Billy Hogan and asked for two representatives to be introduced at board level and for a commitment from FSG that any costs incurred in relation to their failed Super League involvement will be funded solely by the owners and not by the club.
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