By Joe Harker
The deal is done, it's all signed on the dotted line and the club has confirmed everything. Virgil Van Dijk is now a Liverpool player and his £75 million price tag makes him the most expensive defender in the history of football. Whether he represents good value or not, the club needed a new centre back and he was top of their list of targets. However, such a large transfer fee has led manager Jurgen Klopp to be accused of hypocrisy over his past comments.
Manchester United fans, who are clearly not going to miss a chance to have a pop at Liverpool, have brought up comments Klopp made after their club signed Paul Pogba for a then world record £89 million back in 2016. Past comments from Klopp include him saying he would "do things differently" and he has also criticised big spending on one player from other teams. He said: "The day that this is football, I'm not in a job anymore, because the game is about playing together.
"That is how everybody in football understands it. You always want to have the best, but building the group is necessary to be successful. Other clubs can go out and spend more money and collect top players. I want to do it differently. I would even do it differently if I could spend that money."
Some fans believe it is hypocritical for Klopp to say he would rather do things another way then go and break the world transfer record for a defender. Others wonder what it will do to the transfer market as higher fees paid often means that the entire market gets more expensive. Before the Van Dijk transfer the highest any club had paid for one defender was around £50 million, with Manchester City signing three players for around that figure and PSG signing David Luiz for such a price in 2014. Now the ceiling has been raised defenders will likely cost even more and prices will rise. If £50 million was seen as the top of the market in the summer that has now been raised.
As far as Klopp's hypocritical comments are concerned, does it really matter if he says one thing and does another? He would have been an idiot to pass on Van Dijk based on principle as Liverpool desperately needed a top class defender. Most managers contradict themselves and the unpredictable nature of time makes many past comments seem foolish. Brendan Rodgers, Klopp's predecessor, once foolishly opined that Tottenham Hotspur should be challenging for the league after spending £100 million in one transfer window. He would have been right several years earlier, but failed to realise the game had moved on since then. Certain comments made by managers can appear silly in hindsight and if the game has moved on it is better to move with it than stubbornly refuse to change. Liverpool needed Van Dijk, now they have him. Klopp is unlikely to mind if some of his past remarks seem hypocritical in retrospect.