James Pearce was speaking to The Athletic readers during a question and answers session when he updated Liverpool fans on Virgil van Dijk’s progress.
When one fan asked Pearce: “Is it a cold/flu for Virgil that’s keeping him out of training? Do you think he’ll be ok for the final?”
The Athletic journalist stated this in response: “Van Dijk did some fitness work here in Doha today so he’s clearly feeling better after what Klopp described as an illness. No final decision yet but I think he’ll be back for the final.”
Despite Virgil van Dijk being absent, Liverpool managed to scrape past Monterrey in the FIFA Club World Cup, winning 2-1 thanks to a late Roberto Firmino goal in the 90th minute. Naby Keita opened the scoring in the 12th minute, but the Reds were quickly humbled by Monterrey, as Funes Mori got them back on level terms just two minutes after conceding from Jurgen Klopp’s side.
Van Dijk has played 42 matches in all competitions for club and country so far this season, so it’s no surprise that some sort of injury/illness has caught up with him.
Liverpool will be playing Brazilian side Flamengo in the final of the FIFA Club World Cup, a side that may require the Reds to call upon van Dijk’s defensive genius. The Brazilian’s are a dangerous side, scoring 86 goals in 38 league matches, an absolutely incredible tally no matter how easy the division might be.
Will Virgil van Dijk return for the final?
Virgil van Dijk doesn’t seem like a player who looks for an easy day off, with the Dutch international already playing 17 Premier League matches and seven for the Netherlands in the European Championship.
If humanly possible, van Dijk will definitely play; however, with Jurgen Klopp remaining vague about the reason for his absence, none of us can truly know what chance the centre-back has of playing.