Southampton believe that next year’s World Cup in Russia could play a big part in Virgil van Dijk’s future at the South Coast club.

This week, Liverpool’s top defensive target handed in a transfer request and although it was immediately rejected by Southampton, the player remains hell-bent on leaving the club.

A 3-3 draw with Watford at Vicarage Road on Saturday highlights just how important signing a new central defender is for Liverpool.

Yet, with just over two weeks of the transfer window remaining, van Dijk will begin to stress over whether or not he’ll get his move and Southampton believes the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia will influence the defender’s decision.

According to a Mirror Football source, Southampton are confident they can force van Dijk to stay for another year.

The source said, “For three years out of every four, the player holds the upper hand in cases such as these.

“In the other one, the club does – as any player worth his salt wants to go to the World Cup.

“That’s the reason why Southampton are so confident that Van Dijk will eventually return to the fold.”

Funnily enough, Holland could fail to qualify for the World Cup as they look to beat either of Sweden or France to one of the top two spots in Group A.

Liverpool will finally play their UEFA Champions League group stage qualifier against Hoffenheim on Tuesday and will be without defensive reinforcements against a German side very adept from scoring at set pieces.

Klopp will need to whip something up in the next 52 hours to ensure that his players defend better on Tuesday evening to go into the second leg of the playoff with a chance of qualifying for this season’s Champions League.

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Michael Mongie

Just like you, I am a hugely passionate Liverpool supporter. I started Rousing the Kop in January 2015 and since then it has grown tremendously and has even been nominated as ‘Best New Football Blog’ in the Football Blogging Awards.

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