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Virgil van Dijk of Holland during the UEFA Nations League A group 1 qualifying match between The Netherlands and Germany at the Johan Cruijff Arena on October 13, 2018 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands (Tom Bode/VI Images/PA Images)

Substitute Virgil van Dijk scores as Liverpool-linked winger shines

Virgil van Dijk scored in a brief appearance for the Netherlands as they beat Canada 4-0, with Bayer Leverkusen’s Jeremie Frimpong stealing the headlines.

There was a strong Liverpool influence on the Netherlands’ Euro 2024 warm-up match against Jesse Marsch’s Canada, with current players and ex-Reds spread across both teams.

Gini Wijnaldum played in midfield alongside Ryan Gravenberch, who started his first game for the Oranje since June 2021.

The 22-year-old performed well, playing 86 minutes and helping his team dominate the opposition in the second half.

With the match being played at Feyenoord’s De Kuip stadium, Canada defended valiantly in the first period but, after former-Liverpool man Liam Millar departed at half time, the better team got their way.

Memphis Depay opened the scoring and it wasn’t long before Frimpong, playing as a right winger, netted the second with his weaker left foot.

In February, the Bayer Leverkusen wing-back did admit to Ziggo Sport that Liverpool is a “great club with history” and it “would be great” to play for them.

However, this was in the context of Xabi Alonso potentially replacing Jurgen Klopp, something that we now know not to be the case.

There was another Liverpool-linked player on the pitch, though, in the shape of Lutsharel Geertruida.

The Feyenoord right-back was in the crowd for Liverpool’s 2-2 draw against West Ham at the end of the season which, of course, gained attention.

However, according to Dutch publication Algemeen Dagblad, Geertruida is a player who has “not yet been discussed” by Liverpool’s recruitment team.

Now, back to the match and it was Wout Weghorst who scored the third before captain Van Dijk came on in the 72nd minute.

The skipper made his mark 11 minutes later when he headed home the fourth of the night with relative ease.

Cody Gakpo was one Liverpool player who didn’t get on, but he is expected to feature heavily at Euro 2024, where the Netherlands will face Poland, France and Austria in the group stage.

Before then, though, they have another friendly, against Iceland on June 10.

 

Gravenberch back from the cold

LINZ, AUSTRIA - Thursday, September 21, 2023: Liverpool's Ryan Gravenberch during the pre-match warm-up before the UEFA Europa League Group E matchday 1 game between LASK and Liverpool FC at the Raiffeisen Arena. Liverpool won 3-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

As mentioned, this was Gravenberch’s first start for the national team since 2021. This is due to a variety of reasons, including injury, lack of form and controversial decisions from the manager.

The Liverpool man spent the entire season out of consideration after rejecting a call-up to Netherlands U21s in September.

That call-up came just days after Gravenberch completed his switch from Bayern Munich to Liverpool, with his focus instead being on settling at a new club.

It was not taken kindly, but after Nigel de Jong – technical director for the Dutch FA – visited the AXA Training Centre in November, Koeman deemed the matter “over.”