Saints defender Van Dijk could return at Palace

Liverpool journalist: This Klopp summer transfer fail exposed as folly

VIRGIL VAN DIJK is braced to return from his Southampton exile and make a first-team comeback this weekend.

Van Dijk has not featured in any of Saints' five matches so far this campaign due to the uncertainty over his future, and has not played competitively since suffering a foot ligament injury against Leicester in January.

Boss Pellegrino said: "Virgil was training well".

"The amount of games I see where the ball goes out of play, and that's when you actually become alive as a midfielder, defensive midfield player or in defence, you switch on then because they've got the ball and they've got it off the pitch and they want the ball because they want to attack you, so why aren't they switching on?"

"But tomorrow (Friday) we will decide (whether he plays against Crystal Palace)".

"Hopefully he will be getting better every single week", said Pellegrino.

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Liverpool lack leaders at the back this season, making their summer transfer window pursuit of Virgil van Dijk no surprise, according to Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand.

In the end, neither of the 26-year-old's main suitors, Chelsea or Liverpool, were prepared to fork out such a massive sum, with Van Dijk left with no option but to remain at St Mary's for the 2017/18 season.

"For me the captain is something that the team-mates decide and something that you have to deserve", the Argentinian boss added.

Palace begin a new chapter under manager Roy Hodgson, who replaced sacked Frank de Boer on Tuesday after they suffered four consecutive league defeats at the start of the season.

When asked whether the ex-England bosses introduction will make it more hard, the Saints boss was left unsure.

"And no because 90 per cent of our job is to think about us, about our style, our model".

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