Virgil van Dijk at risk of being dropped by the Netherlands as Ronald Koeman aims dig at Liverpool
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Ronald Koeman has suggested Netherlands captain Virgil van Dijk could be dropped by his national side unless he improves.
The Dutch defender has come under increased scrutiny following a series of error-strewn performances for the Reds, who have struggled for consistency this season and are currently seventh in the Premier League – nine points off the top four.
Since returning to the team in February after a hamstring injury, Van Dijk has been below par and outshone by his centre-back partner Ibrahima Konate.
He has also found things difficult on international duty since the World Cup in Qatar, playing in the 4-0 defeat to France in their opening Euro 2024 qualifier in March.
Koeman: Van Dijk must be better
"It will have to be better, We are well endowed with central defenders," said former Everton manager Koeman.
"I've always said to Virgil 'you have to assume that the player standing next to you makes a mistake.' Then you have to look at: am I good? Am I assessing the situation correctly?
"And sometimes he just has to come into the game much harder and shorter, but then he keeps his position too much. I'll discuss that with Virgil as well.
"Virgil obviously got injured. A knee injury, a muscle injury, then a World Cup played in November… but I think his poor form also has to do with the team he plays in."
The Netherlands next face Croatia in the Nations League on June 14.
Van Dijk's immediate focus, however, will be on Liverpool and their upcoming game against West Ham.
The Reds travel to the London Stadium on Wednesday night and realistically need a victory to keep alive their slim hopes of a top four finish and Champions League football next season.