Jurgen Klopp: It's not nice to shell out £75m

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp admits it was “not nice” shelling out £75m (€84m) for Virgil van Dijk but says he had little option in current market conditions.

Jurgen Klopp: It's not nice to shell out £75m

Klopp has finally landed his main defensive target after a protracted courtship which included an unsuccessful transfer request in the summer and a public apology to Southampton for a “misunderstanding” over the Reds’ pursuit.

But in bringing the Dutch international to Anfield, Klopp had to set a new world record for a defender, easily eclipsing the £54m which took Kyle Walker from Tottenham to Manchester City.

The magnitude of the deal does not sit easily with the German but he believes it is no longer possible to keep a lid on spiralling fees and instead chooses to focus on the player, not the price tag.

“It’s a big change in football over a few months and years and we have to adapt to it. That’s how it is, it changed already,” he said.

“It’s not nice but that’s the market, that’s the world.

“It’s all about how the market always is, it’s about the need and the opportunity. If you want to sign a player, actually the last thing I actually think about is the price.

“It’s not because I like throwing money around. We only think about the player and there’s one moment when you get the price and you have to accept it or not.

“Of course it’s not every club who will do it (spend such amounts) but a lot of clubs are able to do it and they’ll do it.”

Van Dijk will not yet be a Liverpool player when they take on Leicester today, joining officially on Monday when the transfer window opens.

Liverpool are expected to face renewed interest from Barcelona for Philippe Coutinho, having refused to do business in the summer.

There is no indication their answer would be any different should Barca come calling again, with the playmaker even taking the captaincy in the 5-0 thrashing of Swansea on St Stephen’s Day.

“I don’t know if I make the story less romantic but when Hendo (Jordan Henderson) and Milly (James Milner) were not playing, I need to look at our longest servant... Philippe Coutinho,” said Klopp.

“That’s why he was captain. Maybe I could be smarter, think about giving him the armband and he will never leave or give him the armband and he’s especially happy, but that’s not how it works.

“The armband can do different things to you, you can feel the lift or the pressure, and it didn’t disturb him.”

Liverpool’s resolve to hang on to Coutinho mirrors Leicester’s determination to keep Riyad Mahrez. Klopp said: “He is a fantastic player. I can imagine a lot of clubs are interested in him. That he’s still there shows somebody at Leicester convinced him. He’s very important for them, 100%.”

Klopp also pledged Rhian Brewster will get “all the support he needs” from Liverpool after the teenager’s revelations of racial abuse. Brewster, 17, has yet to make his senior debut for the Reds but won the Golden Boot in England’s U17 World Cup success in October.

“We give him all the support he needs, he wants, and all the support you can give,” said Klopp. “I’m really happy that he is brave enough to do what he did because it is such an important thing really. I can’t believe that people have these kind of thoughts still in their mind. We needed a 17-year-old boy to shout out, to say it is still happening and it happens all the time, to say ‘I need help, we need help’.”

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