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Liverpool Apologise to Southampton for Virgil van Dijk Media Speculation

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistJune 7, 2017

Southampton's Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk walks from the pitch at half time in the English Premier League football match between Burnley and Southampton at Turf Moor in Burnley, north west England on January 14, 2017. / AFP / Oli SCARFF / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.  /         (Photo credit should read OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)
OLI SCARFF/Getty Images

Liverpool released a statement on Wednesday stating the club has "ended any interest" they had in Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk.

As relayed by Simon Peach of the Press Association, the Reds also apologised for media reports linking the club with a move for the Dutch international:

Simon Peach @SimonPeach

#LFC have released a statement apologising to #SaintsFC "for any misunderstanding" regarding Virgil Van Dijk & have "ended any interest" https://t.co/p7E1NaNVkj

According to Andy Hunter of the Guardian, Van Dijk has made it clear he is keen to go to Anfield this summer in a move that may be worth up to £60 million.  

Peach provided more details about the situation, suggesting there had only been dialogue between the two clubs recently:

Simon Peach @SimonPeach

I understand high-levels talks between #LFC & #SaintsFC were held today - remarkably, it was the first time they had spoken this summer

Per BBC Sport, Southampton were set to report Liverpool to the Premier League over what they believed was an illegal approach for the player. The south-coast club were reportedly "irritated by what they see as an attempt to unsettle Van Dijk and are ready to reject an official offer."

As noted in the same report, Manchester City and Chelsea have also been linked with the Netherlands international, who has established a reputation as one of the best defenders in the Premier League.

Former Liverpool centre-back Jamie Carragher reacted angrily when the news broke:

Jamie Carragher @Carra23

FFS! Only person at Liverpool who should apologise is the person who fed the story he wanted to come to LFC when no fee had been agreed. https://t.co/wnlhXnqKqQ

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Ed Malyon of The Independent reflected on an unusual move by the Merseyside club, who no longer look to be in the hunt for the 25-year-old:

Ed Malyon @eaamalyon

Liverpool have been forced to accept a PR disaster and missing out on one of Klopp's top targets. Tells you how severe the alternative was.

In Van Dijk, Liverpool would have potentially gone a long way to solving their defensive problems. The Southampton man is authoritative, calm in possession and so sharp in sniffing out danger. It means manager Jurgen Klopp will need to search elsewhere for reinforcements at centre-back.

If Van Dijk is indeed keen on moving to Anfield, then he'll be disappointed the transfer is no longer in the cards. It'll be fascinating to see where one of the Premier League's most coveted defenders is playing his football in the 2017-18 term.

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