Virgil van Dijk given time off; Jurgen Klopp plans new raid

Virgil Van Dijk is expected to report back to first-team training at Southampton on Monday with Jurgen Klopp now planning a January move for the player.

Van Dijk left training with the Saints on yesterday afternoon and Southampton fan site The Ugly Inside  claims he has been given time off and will be expected to return to first-team training on Monday morning.

Liverpool had been hoping to get the nod from Saints in order for them to proceed with an official bid for the centre-back, but that notification never arrived as Saints dug their heels in.

In fact Jurgen Klopp’s men never made a bid for Van Dijk after they were forced to apologise for a “misunderstanding” in their pursuit in June.

Liverpool ruined their hopes of landing the 25-year-old earlier in the summer when Southampton reported the Reds to the Premier League over an illegal approach for the player.

Klopp had earmarked Van Dijk as the man he wanted to build Liverpool’s defence around and his interest in the player will not diminish with The Telegraph and The Times both suggesting Klopp will be back for Van Dijk in January.

Van Dijk made it clear he wanted to quit Southampton by handing in a transfer request and Liverpool are reportedly prepared to pay £70million to secure his signature.

Southampton though were unrelenting in their stance this summer and are likely to play hardball again, so much will depend on Van Dijk and his behaviour in the next four months.

Will he refuse to reintegrate into first-team affairs or will he will he knuckle down and give his all for his club?

It looks a long way back for Van Dijk at Saints after holding secret talks with Liverpool, telling the club he wants to leave and handing in a transfer request.

But players have done worse and been rehabilitated back into their clubs, notably Luis Suarez at Liverpool a few years ago, who returned, instead of joining Arsenal, to have his best season for the Anfield club.