There’s a million and one reasons why a World Cup in the middle of the usual football season is a terrible idea. It’s two months until the world’s big sporting competition takes place, and it will be the first one for the 31-year-old Virgil van Dijk. It’s astonishing to think that one of the best center-backs on planet Earth hasn’t yet had the opportunity to show himself in the World Cup, but that’s all about to change.
Assuming, of course, that van Dijk gets through the fall unharmed.
It would be understandable if van Dijk was holding himself back during Liverpool games in order to preserve his fitness for his country. Could this be an explanation for some of the poor results from the Reds so far this season?
When asked about this, however, van Dijk adamantly denies this suggestion.
“Not at all, not at all,” he said. “I can assure you that is definitely not the case. We are not in the situation because of that.
“I would understand because of the start we had everyone is looking for ‘Why?’ because the difference is too big (from last season) but I can assure you that is definitely not one of the reasons. You focus on the game at the time and that’s definitely what we’re doing.
“I can only speak for myself and I wouldn’t worry about me. If you think about this I think you are going to have issues, in my opinion. It is just game-by-game and that includes international football.
“I want to go (to the World Cup) but to be ready, in my opinion, is not to focus on hopefully not getting injured, it is just keep playing, get fit, stay fit and get in a good moment.”
It seems unfair to single out van Dijk here, when the majority of the best players in the league are all gearing up for the same competition.
Liverpool still have 13 more matches in all competitions between now and the break. If they continue to struggle with those the way they have been, then the players may not have much to return back to in December.