Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has refused to be drawn on any potential interest in Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk and hopes the Dutchman will have a torrid time against the Reds when Mauricio Pellegrino's side visit Anfield on Saturday (18 November).

Van Dijk was high on the Merseysiders' agenda during the summer transfer window and submitted a transfer request in order to push through a move to the Reds, but Southampton refused to do business with Klopp's side after taking issue with what they perceived to be an illegal approach.

Liverpool apologised for their initial pursuit and will not renew their interest in Van Dijk unless Southampton make it clear that they are open to selling him. They may have been encouraged by Pellegrino's failure to guarantee that the Holland international will remain in Hampshire beyond January, but Klopp, who left hospital on Thursday after a slight health scare, had "nothing to say" about his club's interest in the defender and simply hopes he will have a difficult afternoon on Saturday.

"Do you really expect an answer? What happened in the summer? I don't know, nothing to say about that." Klopp said in his press conference.

"Hopefully [he has a tough match], it should be difficult for everyone to come to Liverpool, hopefully it is for him."

Liverpool did not bolster their central defensive options in the summer, much to their supporter's disappointment, but their failure to sign Van Dijk could present an opportunity for Joe Gomez to stake a claim for a regular place in the heart of Klopp's defence.

Gomez has mainly operated as a right-back for Liverpool this season but impressed at centre-half on his England debut against Brazil in midweek, and Klopp is certain the former Charlton Athletic defendee is ready to perform that position in the Premier League, though he is keen to manage the 20-year-old's minutes after his previous injury problems.

"There is no doubt about that, Joe knows that and his issues, he still has to improve but he is ready [to play at centre-back]" Klopp said. "He's ready, we need to take care of him, he was injured in a time when people his age are still growing. We want him for the next 15 years, I want to use him, he's ready to play in the centre but can play at full-back too, which is very good for us."

Virgil van Dijk
Van Dijk will be plying his trade at Anfield of one day only. Getty Images