Virgil van Dijk Pulls Out of Euro 2020 – Is the Netherlands’ Loss Liverpool’s Gain?
It is the biggest fear for a professional footballer – suffering a cruciate knee ligament injury, which typically heralds an extended period on the sidelines if not, in the worst of cases, the end of their career.
For Virgil van Dijk, the injured knee he suffered in a game for Liverpool against Everton back in October ended his 2020/21 season – surgery was necessary to repair the damage.
Today, the Dutchman has returned to light training, and there was joy unbounded among Netherlands supporters when Van Dijk was pictured kicking a ball at Liverpool’s Melwood facility. Would the defender make a return for his country’s Euro 2020 campaign? Sadly not, with the 29-year-old later revealing that he had ruled himself out of the running for a spot in the Dutch squad.
Instead, Van Dijk will focus on upping his rehabilitation in a bid to be fit for the start of the 2021/22 season. “I will train every day, keep training until pre-season starts,” he confirmed, “obviously there will be a couple of days of sort of rest, but I want to be ready and I will do everything that is possible to get ready.”
Never have Liverpool needed their defensive lynchpin more. They have already conceded six more league goals this season than last when they had the Dutchman in their side, and there are still two games to go.
His injury, and that of Joe Gomez, have completely derailed the Reds’ campaign, and such is their fall from grace they are now second-favourites in the Premier League outright winner betting odds for 2021/22 behind Manchester City.
The return of a fully fit Van Dijk will surely be needed if Liverpool are to return to the top of the tree in English football.
Can Super Eagles Help the Reds Fly?
According to reports, Jurgen Klopp attempted to sign not one but two Nigerian stars in 2020. The flying winger Samuel Chukwueze was targeted as an understudy to Mo Salah on the right flank. However, Liverpool’s £29.5 million bid was rejected by the 20-year-old’s current employer Villarreal.
And one of the hottest properties in European football, Victor Osimhen, was also in Klopp’s crosshairs but the 21-year-old instead chose to sign for Italian outfit Napoli instead. They say that time is a great healer, but Klopp will still be feeling unfulfilled after watching his side struggle at times from an attacking perspective this term.
Chukwueze, while far from being the finished article, really is an intriguing talent. Left-footed but operating from the right-hand side, he shares some traits with Salah if not the Egyptian’s craft and composure in the final third. Being able to express himself fully in Klopp’s tactical plans would suit the Super Eagles star down to the ground.
And as for Osimhen, he is fast becoming one of the most prolific frontmen in football. After a goal-laden spell at Lille, he headed to Naples and has currently served up ten Serie A goals in just fourteen starts.
Both, or either for that matter, would greatly boost Liverpool’s chances of success next season. Allied to Van Dijk’s return, the Reds would no longer need to sing the blues.