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Klopp expects a hostile reception for world record signing Van Dijk


St Mary’s return: Liverpool new boy Virgil Van Dijk
St Mary’s return: Liverpool new boy Virgil Van Dijk

By Carl Markham

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists they did not "steal" Virgil van Dijk from Southampton and the south coast club should be happy with the world record fee they received.

The Holland international became the most expensive defender in history when he left the Saints in a £75m deal in January, becoming the sixth Saints player to move to Anfield since 2014, and can expect a hot reception when the Reds head to St Mary's tomorrow.

Klopp expects the Dutchman to be targeted by home fans on his return, he insists it should not be a big deal.

"It will not be the most friendly but I'm not sure," said Klopp.

"I don't think anyone at Southampton will say we've stolen him or something.

"It was a very public deal and the numbers, even when they are not 100% right, are I think OK so maybe they are really happy and they say 'Thank you for all the money we have now' - or it could be the other way around.

"Since I'm in (at Liverpool) not only the players we have but half the Premier League if you ask 'Where is he coming from..... Southampton' so there are obviously a few more players.

"Even with centre-halves (Van Dijk and Lovren) we have a problem if you say no Southampton players. We'd only have two (centre-backs) left - not too cool.

"(There are) good players from this area - maybe we should have the scouting department directly in Southampton starting very early!"

Despite playing down the Southampton reunion, which will also see Sadio Mane, Dejan Lovren and Adam Lallana head back to their old club, Klopp will speak to Van Dijk about his focus.

"Yes, for sure, I will talk to Virgil about it," the Reds boss added.

"We are all human beings, we are influenced by circumstances. It will not be a normal game, how can it be?"

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