Ronald Koeman Says Virgil van Dijk Has Played with Broken Ribs for Last 2 Weeks

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistOctober 16, 2018

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - MARCH 22: pressconference coach Ronald Koeman of Holland, Virgil van Dijk of Holland  during the   Pressconference Holland at the Johan Cruijff Arena on March 22, 2018 in Amsterdam Netherlands (Photo by Eric Verhoeven/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Netherlands manager Ronald Koeman has said Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk has been playing for the last two weeks with two broken ribs. 

Van Dijk returned to Merseyside from international duty early after he was ruled out of the friendly clash with Belgium on Tuesday. That was after he scored in the 3-0 win for the Dutch over Germany in the UEFA Nations League.

Speaking about the defender, Koeman said Van Dijk arrived on international duty with a rib issue already and has been taking measures to ensure he gets out on the field, per De Telegraaf (h/t Sport Witness).

"Virgil has been playing with two broken ribs for weeks and has been constantly injecting to play at Liverpool in recent weeks," said the former Barcelona defender. "He insisted on being present against Germany. That’s great, because you want internationals who want to be here at the expense of everything."

Koeman also said that that the defender is ready to play for Liverpool against Huddersfield Town this weekend, per Sky Sports' Liam Grace.

"He's back in Liverpool but he is ready to play for next week," Koeman said. "He's taken a rest.

"He spoke to the manager. The medical staff of the Dutch national team spoke to the medical staff of Liverpool and made the decision that he was playing only the Germany game and then after back to Liverpool.

"He is ready to play next weekend."

According to Koeman, Liverpool would have preferred Van Dijk missed the international break as a result of the issue, but the 27-year-old "said that he wanted to play against Germany."

According to Neil Jones of Goal, Liverpool will monitor the development of the player's injury ahead of the match:

Neil Jones @neiljonesgoal

#LFC will monitor fitness of Mo Salah, Virgil van Dijk and James Milner at Melwood this week. None, at this stage, ruled out of Huddersfield game on Saturday but will continue to be assessed.

Last month prior to the 1-1 draw at Chelsea, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said the defender had been suffering with a rib issue and it doesn't appear to have cleared up during what has been a hectic schedule for the Reds.

Prior to the international matches they faced Manchester City in the top flight, having previously taken on Napoli in the UEFA Champions League and a double-header against Chelsea.

Van Dijk has featured in every game for the Reds this season aside from the 2-1 loss to the Blues in the Carabao Cup and has continued to add to his reputation as one of the best central defenders in the top flight.

This season he has struck up a fine partnership at the base of the team with England international Joe Gomez, with Liverpool conceding just three goals in their eight matches in the Premier League so far. Former Reds player Jim Beglin is excited about that pairing:

Jim Beglin @jimbeglin

If Joe Gomez continues playing to current standards, there won’t be a better central defensive @premierleague pairing than he and Virgil van Dijk.

While there were eyebrows raised when Liverpool parted with a world-record fee to get Van Dijk signed from Southampton in January, so far he's looked worth every penny of the £75 million paid. The Dutchman is commanding in the air, aggressive in the tackle and adept at bringing the ball out from central defence.

Liverpool's next two Premier League fixtures appear straightforward on paper, with Cardiff City the next opponents after the trip to Huddersfield. With that in mind, there should be no pressure on Klopp to rush his star defender back if he isn't fully fit.