Jurgen Klopp to talk to Virgil van Dijk ahead of 'unfriendly' Southampton return
LIVERPOOL -- Jurgen Klopp says he will speak to Virgil van Dijk ahead of his return to Southampton as he predicts the world's most expensive defender will not be given a friendly reception at St. Mary's.
Liverpool travel to Southampton on Sunday afternoon for the first time since Van Dijk made his £75 million transfer last month.
Van Dijk is expecting a hot reception but insists it will not impact his performance for his new club.
A number of Van Dijk's Liverpool teammates -- Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren, Sadio Mane and Nathaniel Clyne -- have also moved to Anfield from Southampton and have been subject to boos from Saints fans in the past.
"I don't know exactly, but it will not be the most friendly," Klopp said of Van Dijk's return to Southampton at a news conference on Friday. "People in Southampton, since I'm in, they were always really nice with Clyney. Adam Lallana, obviously, they miss most. Sadio Mane was OK, I'm not 100 percent sure anymore. Now Virgil is the last one.
"I really understand, but it's nothing we really think about. It will be more normal in the future, but now we have to go there and play football. Nothing else.
"I don't think that anybody in Southampton would say we've stolen him or something. It was quite a public deal and the numbers, even when they are not 100 percent correct, are OK, so maybe they are really happy. [They can] say thank you for all the money they have now."
Klopp added: "It's obviously quite special [to have so many former Saints players] and it was not on purpose. Yes, I will, for sure, talk to Virgil about it.
"With the other players, I didn't talk about it because I didn't know where they all came from, I didn't know the special story. Now I know it, so we'll talk about it.
"We are all human beings. We are influenced by circumstance. It won't be a normal game for him. How can it be? It was a special story for him -- really positive, then at the end, not really positive. But it was a positive end, if you want to see it like that.
"It's how football fans are. They'll want to disturb everything that we will try to do to help their team. So they will probably whistle. Is it nice? I don't think so. Will it have influence? I don't think so, but we will see."
Klopp said he has spoken to Lallana and revealed that the England international is available for selection at St. Mary's on Sunday despite his sending off in an under-23s match earlier this week.
Lallana received a straight red card when he reacted angrily to a challenge from Tottenham Hotspur's George Marsh during a Premier League 2 fixture at Stevenage on Monday night, grabbing the teenager around the neck before being led away by teammate Danny Ings.
However, the midfielder's resulting three-match ban only concerns non-first-team fixtures.
"It's not nice. I spoke to him, of course, about that," Klopp said. "That's not how it should be. He was not happy about it.
"Meanwhile, I understand why it happened. It was not the challenge for the situation. There was another challenge before that. How I said, Adam is not happy about the reaction, as I was not happy about it.
"But it doesn't change my mind about Adam, of course. He is on the way back. That's how it is. He was already a few times back this season, so will not rush him back.
"He is, for sure, an option for the squad. If he is an option for the first XI, I would rather think not in the moment. I can sleep twice before we play Southampton, so maybe I change my mind. In this case, we will see."
Meanwhile, as speculation continues to mount about Emre Can potentially moving to Juventus upon the expiration of his Liverpool contract, Klopp insisted there is no update on the German's situation.
Can's deal at Anfield expires this summer and, since January, he has been free to discuss a transfer with other European teams.
"Nothing new about that," Klopp said. "I think still everything is possible. Nothing else to say. In the moment when we have something to say, then we can say it. There's no decision so far. Otherwise, we would have."
Glenn is ESPN FC's Liverpool correspondent. You can follow him on Twitter: @GlennPrice94.