Jurgen Klopp insists it doesn’t matter that he paid a world-record fee for a defender to sign Virgil van Dijk because the Dutch star is good enough to prove value for money.
Klopp splashed out a reported £75 million (S$134.8 million) to bring van Dijk to Anfield from Southampton on Wednesday (Dec 28).
Opinion is divided over whether the Liverpool manager was right to pay such a huge sum for a player that Premier League leaders Manchester City wanted before they baulked at the asking price.
Former Manchester United right-back Gary Neville has claimed the Netherlands international isn’t worth it, while former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher disagrees.
But Klopp doesn’t care about the size of the transfer because he is confident van Dijk will plug the holes in Liverpool’s leaky defence.
When asked what the 26-year-old will add to Liverpool, Klopp told Sky Sports: “Quality. That’s why we got him, that’s why we were interested in him.
“We don’t make the prices, the market does. Liverpool supporters should forget about the price.
“We only talk about the player and what he can bring in; the quality, the mentality, the character. That is why we are really happy about it.”
Van Dijk has struggled to reach peak form this season after missing several games due to injury and the fallout from a rejected transfer request in August.
But Liverpool had tried to land van Dijk before the transfer deadline and Klopp is relieved to have finally got the centre-back, who will officially arrive on Jan 1 and could make his debut in the FA Cup third-round tie against Merseyside rivals Everton.
Calling for fans to allow time for van Dijk to adapt to Liverpool, Klopp said: “Virgil hasn’t had the best first half to the season at Southampton.
“He was out injured for a long time and we all know about the things that happened last summer.
“He’s a tall player, they always need a little bit longer especially after being out for around nine months.
“But that’s no problem. We already have quality here in that position so we don’t have to rush anything.
“He needs to adapt to our style of play. It’s a completely different game, but we are 100 per cent sure he will do it.”