DOHA, QATAR - Saturday, December 3, 2022: Netherlands' Cody Gakpo during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Round of 16 match between Netherlands and USA at the Khalifa International Stadium. Netherlands won 3-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Cody Gakpo pulls out of Netherland squad – but Liverpool avoid another injury

Cody Gakpo has become the latest Liverpool player to withdraw from international duty, though concerns over a possible injury are allayed.

The Reds have already seen Darwin Nunez (ankle) and Ben Doak (head) pull out of games for their national teams in an otherwise busy month.

Gakpo has now joined them, though unlike his fellow forwards the 23-year-old is not absent due to an injury, with the Netherlands instead seeing a virus wipe out a fifth of their squad.

The Dutch FA confirmed the news on Thursday, with Gakpo leaving their camp along with Sven Botman, Matthijs de Ligt, Joey Veerman and Bart Verbruggen.

They are not due to return for the Euro 2024 qualifiers against France (March 24) and Gibraltar (March 27), with Ronald Koeman instead calling up three replacements.

Those are Stefan de Vrij, Kjell Scherpen and Ryan Gravenberch, the latter of whom is on Liverpool’s radar ahead of the summer transfer window.

Virgil van Dijk remains with the Netherlands and should captain Koeman’s side in both fixtures, with the dismissal of Gakpo and Co. clearly a preventative measure to avoid any further spread.

Netherlands' Cody Gakpo gestures. Credit: Tom Weller/dpa/Alamy Live News Credit: dpa picture alliance/Alamy Live News

Gakpo is now likely to return to Merseyside early, and the hope will be that he can recover and be available for the trip to Man City on April 1.

Liverpool play Man City, Chelsea and Arsenal in the space of nine days at the start of next month, and Jurgen Klopp will need the likes of Nunez and Gakpo available.

Luis Diaz is due to report for full training next week and could, therefore, take a place on the bench at the Etihad, but he would not be considered to start.

Mohamed Salah and Diogo Jota are both on international duty this month, but Roberto Firmino was omitted from the Brazil squad along with Alisson and Fabinho.