Virgil van Dijk is currently training in Switzerland ahead of Liverpool’s pre-season training camp in Evian, which prompted a sixth-tier club to announce his ‘signing’.
The Reds are expected to report for duty in the south of France on Saturday, to kick off their preparations for the 2020/21 campaign.
Jurgen Klopp and his players have been enjoying a well-earned break following the delayed conclusion to their title-winning season, but the squad have been undergoing individual fitness work while away.
Van Dijk, who played more minutes than any other player last season, stepped up his training with a surprise appearance at the training ground of Swiss sixth-tier side FC Perly-Certoux on Wednesday morning.
Perly-Certoux, a municipality of Geneva, is an hour’s drive from Evian, and Van Dijk was filmed running laps around the club’s pitch.
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Swiss newspaper Le Matin contacted FC Perly-Certoux’s president, David Bedert, who jokingly claimed they were set to officially confirm a deal to sign the Dutchman on Friday.
“We had to break our piggy bank but we prefer to wait until Friday to officially announce it,” he said.
“I hope that our newest recruit will be [up to the standard]!”
Bedert added that the club would make the “exceptional” move to hand Van Dijk the No. 4 shirt, with its current incumbent out injured for the resumption of their campaign.
It is not unusual for players to use the facilities of other clubs to maintain their fitness during off-season, with Adam Lallana having trained at Real Mallorca last year and Sadio Mane then following suit in January.
But Van Dijk is clearly eager to get back to work as he has already made the trip to Switzerland, effectively confirming that the Reds will begin pre-season in Evian.
This is a sensible decision, with the squad then able to return to Melwood to gear up for a series of behind-closed-doors friendlies, which are likely to be held at various training grounds and perhaps even at Anfield.
No details have been confirmed at this stage, but it is feasible that clubs within a short distance of Merseyside will be lined up as opposition.