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Virgil van Dijk: World Cup not to blame for Liverpool's slow start

Virgil van Dijk does not believe the World Cup is to blame for Liverpool's stuttering start to the season.

The Dutch defender has struggled for form so far this term but has dismissed claims that the Reds players have an eye on the tournament that begins in Qatar in November.

Van Dijk said: "Not at all, not at all. I can assure you that is definitely not the case.

"We are not in the situation because of that. I understand, because of the start we had, everyone is looking for ‘Why?’ because the difference (to last season) is too big, but I can assure you that is definitely not one of the reasons.

"You focus on the game at the time and that’s definitely what we’re doing."

Van Dijk missed out on Euro 2020 after suffering a serious knee injury but does not intend to hold back in club matches just so he can play in his first major tournament for the Netherlands.

He said: "I can only speak for myself and I wouldn’t worry about me.

"I want to go but to be ready, in my opinion, is not to focus on hopefully not getting injured, it is just to keep playing, get fit, stay fit and get in a good moment.

"If you think about this (getting injured), I think you are going to have issues in my opinion.

"It is just game-by-game and that includes international football. For me it is two games against Poland and Belgium and then it is Brighton, so that will be the focus. I’m not focusing on what is happening in November."

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