Liverpool could face an uphill task to sign Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk, according to reports.
The Merseysiders have been linked with a move for the Dutchman for much of the summer with Chelsea and Manchester City also understood to be possibilities.
Van Dijk handed in a transfer request on Monday but the Saints are still thought to be unhappy with the Reds after an alleged illegal approach for the centre-back.
The Daily Express claims that they would “rather leave Virgil van Dijk to rot in the stands than sell” to Liverpool.
And an insider at the club told the newspaper: “We do not want to sell Virgil to Liverpool and will happily let him sit in the stands all season if we have to.
“Most of the fans would back the club in this after everything that has gone on.”
The report continues by suggesting that a move to Chelsea could be Van Dijk’s best option with Southampton not keen on doing business with Liverpool.
Van Dijk only signed a six-year contract at St Mary’s last summer and the Saints are reportedly confident they can maintain his value even if they don’t sell him this transfer window.