Liverpool must reignite their chase for Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk in the January transfer window according to Reds icon Jan Molby, who thinks the Dutchman could convince the club's owners that he is worth the touted £60m+ ($79.4m) outlay with a strong performance at Anfield for Mauricio Pellegrino's men on Saturday (20 November).
Jurgen Klopp's men made a complete hash of their pursuit of Van Dijk in the summer and publicly and privately apologised to the Saints for what they perceived to be an illegal approach for their defender.
Many expected Liverpool to eventually get a deal for Van Dijk over the line in the summer, but the Merseysiders made it clear that they would only try to sign the former Celtic star if Southampton were open to selling him.
It remains to be seen if Southampton's stance over Van Dijk has softened, but Molby, who was vital cog in Liverpool's engine room between 1984 and 1996, believes the Reds must try and prise the Dutchman away from Anfield in the winter transfer window, whether the Saints want to do business or not.
Van Dijk has four-and-a-half years left on his contract with Southampton and is valued at around £60-£70m. Such a figure would blow Liverpool's current record transfer fee out of the water, but Molby thinks the 26-year-old would be able to sway Fenway Sports Group into thinking he is worth the money with a solid showing against the Merseysiders on Saturday.
It would be almost ridiculous if Liverpool didn't go back in for van Dijk in January. I'd be amazed if they didn't," Molby said in his column for The Liverpool Echo.
"The problem for him is that everyone will know the fee will be £60million-plus to buy him and he'll be judged on that, not whether he looks a good player or not.
"But I don't think many Liverpool fans will come away thinking he wouldn't be a good addition to the team.
"A good showing from him might ease any doubts among the club's owners that he is worth the money that's being talked about."
Van Dijk has made it abundantly clear that he wants to follow the well trodden path from Southampton to Liverpool, but Reds boss Klopp will have to make do with the likes of Dejan Lovren and emerging England star Joe Gomez for the clash against Southampton and until January at the earliest.
Van Dijk was sent away from the Southampton first-team squad during the early part of the season after submitting a transfer request in order to try and push through a move, but the well-rounded defender has regained his place back in the starting line-up under Pellegrino, who could do with a positive result at his former stomping ground Anfield in order to alleviate the growing pressure that already surrounds him.
Southampton were steadfast over Van Dijk's future during the summer, but Pellegrino could not guarantee that the former Groningen starlet would remain in Hampshire for the rest of the season, admitting that "everybody has got a price".
"I don't know. I can't control the market," Pellegrino said. "You never know, because when we talk about money everybody has got a price. The budget is to sign players and the biggest teams have got money to try to sign players. We have got a lot of good players and most of the teams want to sign them."