Liverpool's star defender Virgil van Dijk has been playing with two broken ribs for a number of weeks, according to Netherlands manager Ronald Koeman.
Van Dijk has missed just one game for Liverpool this season and played the entire 90 minutes for his country in the 3-0 win over Germany on Saturday, but to aid in his recovery the defender will not feature in the international friendly against Belgium on Tuesday.
The defender's absence for the second game of Netherlands' international schedule this month was pre-planned with Liverpool's medical staff as they look to carefully manage the defender's injury.
“Virgil has played with two broken ribs in the last weeks,” Koeman told reporters, via the Independent.
“He wanted to play against Germany but you have to give the club something back now. He’s back to Liverpool and he’s ready to play for next week. He takes a rest. He spoke to the manager [Jurgen Klopp].
Why is Van Dijk being called up for international duty if has been playing with broken ribs?....— Jimmy (@EntireDesign_) October 16, 2018
“The medical staff of the Dutch national team spoke to the medical staff of Liverpool and made the decision that he was playing only the Germany game and then after back to Liverpool.”
The injury sustained to Van Dijk's ribs was known to have occurred during the Reds' Champions League victory over Paris Saint-Germain last month, as it subsequently forced him from action the following matchday against his former club Southampton.
However, the true extent of the injury was unclear. Despite his early return to Melwood, the Dutch skipper is expected to be fit for Liverpool's Premier League clash against Huddersfield on Saturday, as Koeman added: “He is ready to play next weekend.”
Moreover, Jurgen Klopp is also sweating over the fitness of both Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, who respectively picked up a thumb injury and a muscle strain during their international appearances - joining James Milner as a doubt for the trip to Huddersfield.