Virgil van Dijk sends cheeky message as Liverpool could benefit from World Cup draw
Many of the game’s personalities converged in Doha for the World Cup draw, and after what felt like an eternity and day of talks and speeches from various people on stage, the draw began.
And the draw revealed some interesting couples. One of them will see Sadio Mané’s Senegal take on the Netherlands, and a clash with his Liverpool team-mate Virgil van Dijk.
Van Dijk almost predicted being in the same group as Senegal, as earlier in the week he said: “Well obviously I’m sorry for Mo [Salah] and for Egypt, but football is sometimes like that.
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“I’m sure he will turn disappointment into success for the rest of the season. We still have everything to play for, so there is still a lot to achieve for him. As for Sadio, I wish him all the best and if he is in our squad, he’s going to need that good luck.”
And it turned out. Senegal and the Netherlands are joined in Group A along with hosts Qatar and South American Ecuador.
The England group is a little less tricky, with Iran, USA and one of Scotland, Ukraine or Wales in Group B. But we could see a battle between Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson.
Yet, with this World Cup going down in history and being the first to be played in November and December, there will be consequences for all club teams throughout the tournament. Players will get injured or come back tired, and unlike the usual World Cups which are played in the summer, there will be little or no time to recover.
In terms of the number of players from the Liverpool squad taking part in the tournament, there aren’t as many as you might expect. Depending on whether Joe Gomez, Ibrahima Konaté and Thiago Alcântara are selected and Scotland take part in the tournament, Liverpool could see between 10 and 14 players go to Qatar. At least there are 10 more or less certain to fly to the Middle East.
Brazil, Spain and Portugal are all expected to go deep in the tournament and, given the nature of their groups, Alisson, Roberto Firmino, Fabinho, Thiago and Diogo Jota will likely be satisfied with hopes of a longer stay at the Qatar. . The England group also means that Jordan Henderson and Alexander-Arnold will also be spending quite a bit of time in the desert.
For Mané, their squad composition means the striker could be on the first plane back after the group stages, which of course would be very beneficial for Liverpool. The same cannot be said for Van Dijk and the Netherlands, with Louis Van Gaal overseeing a talented side that could do a lot in the competition.
From Liverpool’s perspective, the hope is that most players return injury-free, but the fewer games they play during the tournament the better for Jürgen Klopp and the rest of Liverpool’s season. If Mane doesn’t get the luck that Van Dijk wishes him, it could be Anfield feeling the good fortune.