As Arsene Wenger pushes through with his controversial plan for a biannual World Cup, the Frenchman will meet with Liverpool players to discuss his proposal.
Wenger, in his role as FIFA’s head of global football development, is spearheading plans to expand the World Cup to take place every two years.
The former Arsenal manager claims it will ease the international calendar, rather than increase demand on players, but his proposals have been met with fierce opposition from players, managers and fans alike.
If the motion is passed, the World Cup and European Championship will both be held biannually from 2024, with Wenger hoping to “kick all the rest out,” in reference to tournaments such as the UEFA Nations League.
So far, the 72-year-old has canvassed a host of former players and current managers, with a propaganda charge led by FIFA representatives such as Michael Owen and Javier Mascherano.
But the players are not so sure, with Virgil van Dijk revealing a meeting is to take place between Wenger and members of the Liverpool squad as they look to oppose his plan.
“Soon there is a meeting scheduled of Liverpool players, including myself, with Arsene Wenger,” he told reporters including Voetbal International.
“That is about the plan to play a World Cup every two years. We as players [will] give our opinion.
“When we senior players from Liverpool and other top English clubs do that, I think they have to listen.”
Citing the “health and safety of the players” and the need for the competition to “remain special,” Van Dijk added: “I don’t think it’s a good idea, a World Cup every two years.”
It is likely that Liverpool’s internal leadership group will take the meeting with Wenger, which would suggest that Van Dijk will be joined by Jordan Henderson, James Milner, Andy Robertson, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Alisson.
They would reflect the views of the entire squad, whose makeup includes a number of players from other federations including Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita, who play within the Confederation of African Football.
Like Van Dijk, the captain has already made his feelings clear, as he described Wenger’s vision as “all about money.”
“It’s not for me. With the amount of games that players have, it’s just too much,” Henderson told GQ.
“The physical demands put on athletes today are just too great and it feels, to me, that there’s not really anybody looking out for players’ welfare.
“Playing more games is all about money, television rights, and I don’t really see the need for another World Cup.”