Liverpool president Mike Gordon has worked to repair the club’s relationship with Southampton following their failed summer pursuit of Virgil van Dijk.
The Reds were forced to publicly end their interest in the Netherlands international and apologise to the Saints for their alleged underhand attempts to broker a move.
Jurgen Klopp is claimed to have met with Van Dijk to discuss leaving Southampton before any contact was made between the two clubs.
This led to the breakdown of any hope of signing the 26-year-old ahead of 2017/18 and Van Dijk is likely to start as the Saints take to Anfield on Saturday afternoon.
But according to the Times‘ Paul Joyce, Gordon has “built bridges behind the scenes” with Southampton chairman Ralph Krueger.
Joyce even claims Liverpool made another approach for Van Dijk before the transfer window closed.
However, the response from St. Mary’s remained the same, with Krueger adamant the Saints would not part ways with their captain and, arguably, most important player.
With the New Year looming, though, the prospect of a renewed bid for Van Dijk is an interesting one, and it is safe to expect talks to resume.
“There is no doubting that Liverpool still want Van Dijk in January,” Joyce writes.
“Klopp no doubt feels a level of loyalty to the player despite never working with him, and the centre back would still want to come.”
Southampton head to Merseyside sitting 13th in the Premier League, having taken 13 points from their first 11 games, and losing Van Dijk would weaken Mauricio Pellegrino’s side significantly.
But the suggestion that Liverpool are possibly back on solid terms with Southampton is a real positive.
It was suggested that, following Van Dijk’s transfer request in August, that the Saints would prefer to sell the centre-back to any other club.
Chelsea were touted as a possible destination, but Antonio Conte opted to keep his faith in his current options, promoting perennial loanee Andreas Christensen.
It can be argued that, among the Premier League‘s elite, Liverpool are the only club in desperate need of an additional centre-back midway through the campaign.
Though it will still be a difficult process, the building of bridges may just open up the possibility of Van Dijk moving to Anfield for the long term.