Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is expecting a heated reception to be laid on for Virgil Van Dijk by former club Southampton on Sunday.
The Dutchman left St Mary’s in acromonious circumstances in the Winter transfer window and the manner of that departure promises to see a fiery response from Saints fans.
“For sure I will talk to Virgil about it. With other players I didn’t talk about it because I didn’t know or look at where they were coming from.” he told his press conference.
“But I will talk to him of course. We are all human beings. We are influenced by circumstances. It will not be a normal game – how can it be? It was a special story for him most of the time, really positive, and then not that positive at the end.
“I know how football fans are. They want to disturb everything we do to help their team and they will whistle. Is it nice? I don’t think so. Will it have influence? I don’t think so, but we will see.
“We cannot make it too big and I don’t make it too big. Yes it is quite special but that’s all. We think much more about the football game and what we have to do and not about how we can avoid situations from outside because we don’t have influence.
“We have to accept it how it is. Loud, not nice maybe, but still we have to play football.
“I don’t think anyone at Southampton will say we’ve stolen him,” he said. It was a very public deal and the numbers, even if they are not 100%, are okay so maybe they are really happy and they say: ‘Thank you for all the money we have now’. Or it could be the other way around. It’s not only the players we have.
“Since I’m here if you ask half the Premier League: ‘Where is he from?’ they say: ‘Southampton.’ Ox is from there, although he took a different way, Theo Walcott.
“There are good players from this area. Maybe we should have a scouting department directly in Southampton?” he finished.
Liverpool fans will be hoping to see Van Dijk rise to the occasion as he prepares to face his old team-mates for the first time since making the move to Anfield.
It will also take the heat off of the other former Southampton players in the squad, with Dejan Lovren likely to face less booing than usual.