Jürgen Klopp says he is not concerned about having to pay €84 million to sign Virgil van Dijk and has backed the Holland international to be a success at Anfield.
Van Dijk will complete his move from Southampton on January 1st after they agreed to sell him to Liverpool for a world-record sum for a defender. But Klopp has predicted that will have no bearing on the 26-year-old's performances.
“We don’t make the prices, the market does. Liverpool supporters should forget about the price,” he said. “We only talk about the player and what he can bring in; the quality, the mentality, the character. That is why we are really happy about it.”
Asked what Van Dijk will bring to the club, Klopp said: “Quality. That’s why we got him, that’s why we were interested in him. It’s quite difficult at the moment because technically he’s still a Southampton player.”
Liverpool attempted to sign the former Celtic defender in the summer but were reported to the Premier League for an illegal approach. That led to Van Dijk handing in a transfer request and subsequently being forced to train away from the first team, although he has since made 12 appearances after recovering from a knee injury.
“Virgil hasn’t had the best first half to the season at Southampton,” Klopp said. “He was out injured for a long time and we all know about the things that happened last summer.
“He’s a tall player – they always need a little bit longer especially after being out for around nine months – but that’s no problem. We already have quality here in that position so we don’t have to rush anything.
“He needs to adapt to our style of play. It’s a completely different game, but we are 100 per cent sure he will do it.”
Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino has insisted the deal will represent good business for the club, providing they can sign their transfer targets. They are interested in at least two players, a centre-back to replace Van Dijk and a striker – given Charlie Austin is expected to be ruled out until at least February with a hamstring injury – when the transfer window reopens on January 1st.
“Now the deal is done and will be positive for the club and Virgil, for both parts of the negotiation, and we have to analyse in a positive way and reinvest this money in our squad to try to be stronger and this is everything,” said Pellegrino.
“Sometimes at this level Southampton is impossible to bring players for £80m or £50m but maybe for us can mean in the future a couple of good players. Maybe we can change one player for two players or three players with this money and this has to be the positive target. We have to analyse this situation and this is good personally for him and will be positive if we reinvest in our good targets for the future.”
As for his own future, the former Alaves manager is adamant Southampton, who have recorded one win in 11 matches, can turn things around starting against Manchester United at Old Trafford on Saturday.
“Almost 50 per cent of the Premier League is ahead and still we have time to bounce back and show another face,” Pellegrino said. “I have the same feeling as the fans. I am not happy when we don’t play well and I would like to keep the people proud of our team.”