Van Dijk fee 'not nice', says Klopp

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Paying £75 million for the Dutch defender was an exorbitant outlay, but the Liverpool manager said it was down to the market

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp labelled the £75 million spent to buy Virgil van Dijk as "not nice", but said his club was simply adapting to the market.

Van Dijk, 26, is set to join Liverpool from Southampton in January after the Premier League clubs agreed to a record fee for a defender.

Klopp, who questioned Manchester United for paying £89m for Paul Pogba last year, said his club had little choice in a market where Paris Saint-Germain bought Neymar from Barcelona for a world-record £198m.

"A fee of £75m at this moment is very good for Southampton. They want to improve their squad as well," the German told UK newspapers.

"Do you think when they go to a club – if the player is not a free agent – those clubs will be accepting £5m for a replacement? That is how it is.

"It's not nice, but that's the market, that's the world. We have to adapt."

Van Dijk signed a new deal with Southampton in May 2016, extending his contract until 2022.

Klopp said that played a part in the price, one he said fans should try to immediately ignore.

"Virgil has a long contract at Southampton. That is how it is. It started a few years ago. If you do not want to do it, do not do it," he said.

"We had an opportunity to do it and that is why he will be a Liverpool player. Do I like it? No, because it puts more pressure on everything.

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"That is why I said as a Liverpool community we have to ignore it immediately. He is a player for us, he can improve and he needs to adapt.

"There are so many things he still needs to work on. He developed a lot in the last few years, made big steps, so it is a good thing."

Liverpool, fourth in the Premier League, host Leicester City on Saturday.