Can Liverpool duo inspire Dutch delight at Euro 2024 in Germany this summer?

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Once the dust from the 2023/24 Premier League season settles, and heartwarming goodbyes are said to legendary manager Jürgen Klopp, the attention for those of a red persuasion will turn straight towards Euro 2024 in Germany.

For Liverpool’s Dutch duo Virgil van Dijk and Cody Gakpo (not forgetting Ryan Gravenberch, although he’s unlikely to make the squad having won just one senior cap since the start of 2022), they will be hoping that they can inspire their nation to success.

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Tough group, but second place is fine

For Ronald Koeman’s side, a tough group stage awaits, with Netherlands due to do battle against a Robert Lewandowski-inspired Poland, Ralf Rangnick’s Austria and World Cup 2022 runners-up France. However, due to the way the draw has been organised, finishing second might not be the worst outcome for the Dutch.

The aim will of course be to top the pile, but once the group stage is concluded, whoever finishes second in Group D would play the runner-up of Group E. There are a lot of ifs and buts for sure, although this is most likely to be one of Slovakia, Romania or Ukraine, with Belgium likely to win Group E.

Despite this apparent incentive, Van Dijk, Gakpo and their teammates will be going all-out to top the group for a chance to face one of Portugal, Georgia, Türkiye or Czechia in the Round of 16.

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Liverpool’s Dutch duo

Barring cruel misfortune on the injury front, two Liverpool players are all but certain to be included in Netherlands’ Euro 2024 squad.

Van Dijk is his country’s captain and has been ever-present for the Oranje since September 2022, barring the second half of a facile 6-0 win over Gibraltar last November.

Meanwhile, Gakpo netted three goals in the qualifiers for this tournament to go along with the three that he plundered at the most recent World Cup 18 months ago, along with claiming two assists in the 4-0 thrashing of Scotland in March.

Liverpool and Netherlands captain Virgil van Dijk (Photo via Telegraph India)

Underdog role

There is plenty of talent for Koeman to call upon for Euro 2024, but Netherlands will go into the tournament as relative underdogs. After poor performances at major tournaments in the last decade (they didn’t even qualify for Euro 2016 or the 2018 World Cup), other nations have overtaken the Dutch in the European powerhouse pecking order.

The Euro 2024 odds currently have Koeman’s side behind the likes of England, France, Germany and even neighbours Belgium in the list of favourites to lift the trophy. However, the underdog role could be one that the Oranje relish.

With less pressure, there might be more of the free-flowing football on display which won them the European Championship in 1988, which was held in West Germany. Koeman was part of that winning side which included legendary players such as Marco van Basten, Ruud Gullit and Frank Rijkaard.

After recent failures and non-appearances at major tournaments, Netherlands will be looking to make Euro 2024 count. There is little expectation or backing from bookmakers, but with the tournament taking place in neighbouring Germany, there will surely be a strong backing crossing the border to cheer on the men in orange this summer.

READ MORE: The evolution of Liverpool’s starting XI under Jurgen Klopp

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