Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk outlines the World Cup as a reason for unusual season
With four back-to-back wins across all competitions, Liverpool head into the international break with some form on their back. With the FIFA World Cup later this month, a number of Reds, including Virgil van Dijk will fly to Qatar to represent their nations at the highest level.
Going into the six-week break, Liverpool currently stand sixth in the Premier League points table with six wins, four losses and four draws. As far as other competitions are concerned, the Reds have gone through to the Round of 16 in the UEFA Champions League, and have made progress in the EFL League Cup as well after beating Derby County on penalties.
However, the Reds did not enjoy the best start to their league campaign and were struggling to get results domestically. The form at one point in time stooped to a significant low when the Reds lost back-to-back matches to teams in the relegation zone at the time of the games.
Speaking of the peculiar season so far, Liverpool’s Dutch centre-back Virgil van Dijk said that the season was “strange”. Here is more to what he said via Liverpool Echo:
“I would say the last couple of months has been just strange. Everyone is trying to find consistency, not only us as a team and as a club, but if you look at other teams around it is just difficult. No-one really can put a finger on it.”
“Obviously a big part of this is because there is going to be a such a big break coming up and the World Cup and players getting injured, players not fully fit. It was strange, it was difficult for everyone, but I can only speak for us because I’m in the middle of it.”
Having the World Cup in the middle of the season is something which has happened for the first time and hence, players had to take care of their fitness and fatigue issues more so now than at any other point in the season.
Liverpool have also had their fair share of injuries this season with a number of midfielders sidelined at various stages during the opening few weeks of the campaign and even up to now. Presently, Naby Keita, Arthur Melo, Luis Diaz, Joel Matip and Diogo Jota are out with injury issues.
Fit-Liverpool post the World Cup
One would hope that the quintet is up and running post the international break and contribute on the pitch as well. Keita and Arthur have not featured this season yet whereas Diaz and Matip were among the best players on the pitch in the few games they took part in.
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With only a number of Liverpool players taking part in the World Cup, a major chunk of the first-team squad will travel to Dubai to take part in the mid-season training camp. Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino are among the big names who won’t be travelling to Qatar.