Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers has revealed Virgil van Dijk would have been a Liverpool player if the Reds' scouts had not turned down an opportunity in signing the star defender.

The Northern Irishman took charge of the Scottish club last summer after he was shown the exit door at Anfield in October 2015. During his time at the Merseyside club, Rodgers made two attempts in bringing Van Dijk to Liverpool.

However, the Reds scouts were not impressed by the Dutch international's skills, which forced them to pass up the chance in signing him. Van Dijk was signed by Celtic from Groningen in 2013 and two years later, he moved to Southampton. Before he was signed by the south coast club and Celtic, Rodgers claims he made several attempts in signing him for Liverpool.

"There is maybe an issue with scouts. When I was at Liverpool I asked about Van Dijk and he was at Groningen and then at Celtic. But I was told he wouldn't be for us at the time," Rodgers told the Evening Times.

"Virgil van Dijk could have jumped from Celtic to Liverpool," Rodgers, now Celtic manager, told the Evening Times. "Some clubs will want to see the players tested at certain arenas first.

"But if there is enough belief in the player then that counts. The key for scouting is trying to predict when the player is peaking. You could see with Van Dijk that he was quick, strong, good on the ball and decent in the air.

"So what more do you need to see? You could see him playing international football and, okay, clubs may want to see him in Champions League."

Van Dijk impressed in his debut season with the Saints and has further improved his game after Claude Puel took charge at St Mary's Stadium. The 25-year-old's form for Southampton has seen him attract interest from the top clubs in the Premier League.

Manchester United and their local rivals Manchester City, along with league leaders Chelsea are all interested in signing Van Dijk. The centre-back is currently on the sidelines recovering from an ankle injury he picked up against Leicester City.

Virgil van Dijk
Virgil van Dijk is reportedly wanted by Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea Getty