Soccer

Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool medics ‘horrified’ by Virgil van Dijk plan

Liverpool have been left 'horrified' by Virgil van Dijk's plan to return from injury and represent the Netherlands at the European Championships in the summer.

The Dutchman has been on the treatment table since tearing his anterior cruciate ligament in a collision with Everton's Jordan Pickford last October.

Van Dijk is recovering well from the career-threatening injury – and the Mirror indicate the defender has targeted the summer's Euros for his comeback.

That has put the fear of God into Kop boss Klopp, who wants Van Dijk to focus on pre-season before resuming playing duties with Liverpool next season.

Klopp and his medical team are said to be horrified at the prospect of Van Dijk featuring at the Euros, even though the 29-year-old's rehab is progressing well.

One man who is optimistic of the defender taking up his place in the Netherlands squad is Erwin Koeman, brother of Barcelona coach Ronald.

The pair worked together at Southampton and believes Van Dijk stands a good chance of featuring at the Euros if he can play for the Reds before the season is out.

He said: "Knowing Virgil I can fully imagine how he sees this issue. I ruptured my ligaments before the 1990 World Cup in Italy but I really wanted to go to the tournament.

"I joined the team in a late stage and I had to to extra tests to prove I was fit enough to play but I proved that I was fit.

"As a player you don’t want to miss a World Cup or the Euros. You want to play there at any costs.

"Sometimes against common sense, but it would help if he can play a game for Liverpool before June."

The bad news for Koeman – and Van Dijk – is that Liverpool boss Klopp is already on record as saying it is unlikely Van Dijk will represent the Reds again this season.

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  • Former Wales and Netherlands assistant Raymond Verheijen, a recovery specialist, has also cast doubt on an early return for the Liverpool stalwart.

    Verheijen said: "As soon as he is back on the pitch for Liverpool the door will be open to the Euros.

    "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."

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