I usually don’t like speaking for everyone, but I feel confident in saying that if Virgil van Dijk plays for the Netherlands in the European Championships this summer after missing nearly the whole Liverpool season, people will be...displeased. Summer football is always nerve-wracking for fans of club teams who hold their collective breath as their favorite players go off to play for their countries. However, the anxiety gets turned up tenfold when the player in question the best in the world at his position and also barely recovered from a surgery that kept him out of contention since October.
Jürgen Klopp seems to feel the same way. When asked about the possibility of van Dijk being called up by Frank de Boer.
“Virgil’s knee. Look, I don’t want to hold him back, but you cannot force it as well,” Klopp said.
“Now let’s just go through all these kind of things. You are all long enough in the business to know if you want to play a tournament, you have to train before – proper football training weeks before, not a week before. You cannot after 10, 11 months out, train a week and play football. That’s just not possible, it should not be possible.”
He added, “In the moment, nobody knows when that will be exactly but you can imagine it will be for sure very, very tight with the Euros and the team training and stuff like this because he is not in team training yet and will not be in the next 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.”
I understand what Klopp means here, but I choose to imagine Virg sitting down, elevating his foot and have a nice, long talk with him knee, man to man.
In the meantime, Liverpool’s season was massively affected by his absence, so it seems reasonable that as polite as Klopp was in his response, behind the scenes he has a very different opinion on the subject.