LIVERPOOL will face competition from Barcelona in the race for Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk.
Scouts from the Catalan club apparently watched the £50million-rated defender at Holland’s clash with Sweden during the international break.
The Netherlands won the game 2-0, with van Dijk putting in an assured performance, despite his country failing to qualify for Russia 2018.
Liverpool failed in their swoop for van Dijk over the summer but were expected to go back in for him either in January or next summer.
And Barcelona are now weighing up a move for the 26-year-old Southampton star.
Javier Mascherano is reportedly considering leaving the Nou Camp when his contract expires at the end of the season.
And with Gerard Pique turning 31 in February, manager Ernesto Valverde is planning to acquire a younger centre-back to partner him.
Van Dijk is still odds-on to remain at St. Marys after the January transfer window.
But Barcelona have shortened to 6/1 to sign him, with Liverpool still the more likely at a price of 4/1.
Saints were unhappy with Liverpool’s pursuit of Van Dijk during the summer – forcing the Anfield club to apologise.
But van Dijk has recently expressed interest in still moving to Anfield to work under Jurgen Klopp.
Manchester City had also asked to be kept informed of any developments regarding Van Dijk’s future and Chelsea were in the hunt for him over the summer.