SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - Saturday, November 19, 2016: Southampton's Virgil Van Dijk arrives ahead of the FA Premier League match against Everton at St. Mary's Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Mauricio Pellegrino insists Liverpool interest won’t distract Virgil van Dijk at Anfield

Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino says wantaway defender Virgil van Dijk will be 100 percent focused in this weekend’s trip to Liverpool.

The talented 26-year-old would rather be emerging from the home dressing room at Anfield this Saturday having made his desire to join Jurgen Klopp‘s men clear.

But, having seen several players enticed away in recent years, Southampton dug in their heels and kept hold of Van Dijk despite the player’s public transfer request towards the end of a messy summer.

Liverpool had to apologise in June for “any misunderstanding” surrounding their interest in the defender, saying they had dropped their interest after Saints asked the Premier League to investigate an alleged improper approach.

It is quite the backdrop as Van Dijk prepares to line up at Anfield on Saturday, but Saints manager Pellegrino has no doubts about the centre-back’s mentality.

“I don’t think it will be difficult because Virgil knows he is focused 100 percent on our team and is training well,” he said.

“He wants to improve his performances because obviously he was injured in [January] and then he didn’t play any games.

“Obviously we cannot control the [transfer] market and every single transfer window clubs are looking to buy our players.

“But we are looking for players to try to improve our squad too. It’s part of our job.

“Football today is a big business – and we have to understand this. Now clubs are fighting in the market to find the best player and we have a lot of good players—it’s part of our job.

“It’s no secret that sometimes players are distracted but it’s normal.”

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