It would be like 2014 all over again, when they reached the Champions League but still sold Luis Suarez, only feel even worse precisely because they were supposed to be past this.
There is genuinely a pressure on the club for the remainder of the window now, even if it’s still worth looking past the noise, because there are a lot of conflicting sounds.
One positive is that those close to Van Dijk’s camp say there is a real relaxation about his future, and they believe he will move - with Anfield his massive primary choice - with the centre-half having told new Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino that he no longer wants to play for the club. The problem of course is that Liverpool must tread very cautiously in all of this, having already had to publicly apologise to the south-coast club over a complaint about illegal approaches. They cannot really force the issue and, for their part, have not done that in the slightest so it is really up to the 26-year-old to further agitate for a move.
Southampton may well prove tough negotiators, though, just as RB Leipzig have. It is after all not long since Keita really felt even more confident than Van Dijk’s camp that he would be going to Anfield this summer. He has had to re-assess that over the past week or so. While it is not true that a third Liverpool bid has been turned down, the Leipzig hierarchy have so far shown no indication that they will be turning.
They certainly haven’t been in the generous mindset of being unable to stop a player “living out his dream”, just as Liverpool did in 2014 with Suarez, and could yet be pushed into with Coutinho. The situation is a little similar there, somewhat inverting Klopp’s problems.
Those close to the Barcelona hierarchy are speaking about how they expect the playmaker to arrive this summer, and that it’s just a “no-brainer” he would want to leave Anfield for Camp Nou - even if the machinations could well indicate that Neymar is actually leaving the club. It’s just that the Catalans would surely have to offer a lot more than £80m, especially in this market, and especially with that contract he has that runs until 2022.
A further complication to this, and almost ramping up the pressure, is Klopp’s idiosyncratic - and someway admirable - approach to doing business. Those close to the club say he isn’t always interested in alternatives if he doesn’t get his primary targets, and there currently don’t look to be too many back-up options to Van Dijk or Keita. It sometimes feels as if he just has a vision in his head for how his side will play with those specific players, and is just willing to improvise if he doesn’t get them. That was what happened in his very first window in 2016.
The issue that is so central to the very vibe around the club, however, is that this was supposed to be a summer of imposing themselves rather than improvisation. It was supposed to be about for once fully maximising the opportunity of being a Champions League club again, something that cannot now be guaranteed in a Premier League where there are six and maybe seven clubs - if neighbours Everton really push on - going for four places.
Ultimately, what it all boils down to, is Liverpool have to show a steel. They have to flex the muscle that does come with this bigger broadcasting deal, even if it has meant everyone else is wealthier, too. They just have to press that home. They have to stand firm with Barcelona. That should be non-negotiable. There is after all no real justification for selling Coutinho, unless he actually agitates, something that looks unlikely. The positive is that is exactly the stance that the hierarchy are going to take - that he is just not for sale at any price. They then have to take a similar attitude on the other side of things. They have to show a new canniness with the main targets.
It is likely to be the key to reaching higher in the Premier League. Impressive as Klopp is at improvising, no one can keep doing that indefinitely. It’s time to step up.
Neymar, Lionel Messi et Luis Suarez s’affrontent lors d’un concours de précision (Vidéo)
Alors que Neymar va peut-être rejoindre le PSG la saison prochaine, la MSN, composée du Brésilien, de Lionel Messi et de Lui Suarez semble s’entendre à merveille. En témoigne, cette vidéo que Non Stop Zapping vous propose sur laquelle les trois stars du FC Barcelone s’affrontent dans la bonne humeur lors d’un concours de précision.
Forget Neymar's transfer and watch Barca star beat Messi, Suarez in skills challenge (Video)
The football world is going gaga over a potential world-record transfer of Barcelona’s Neymar to Paris Saint Germain for an insane £195 million. However, nothing’s official yet, and we do not know whether Barcelona will be able to persuade the Brazilian to stay put.
Barcelona players want Neymar to stay in the club and take the team to greater heights. So much so that the two top players of the club, Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi, also met the player and tried to convince him to remain in the club.
Amidst all, Neymar has bagged the bragging rights as the Brazilian beat both Messi and Suarez in skills challenge in the US.
Barcelona are currently in the US as part of the pre-season tour. The club will face Manchester United on Wednesday. MSN took the challenge to strike the goalpost (in one bounce) from some distance after the training session.
Neymar was the first to give it a try. The Brazilian came close. Suarez was next, and he embarrassed himself with an off target shot. Messi, one of the best players in the world, was better than Suarez, but still failed to hit the target.
So, the trio had another go, and Messi started the proceedings, albeit with same results. Suarez’s second round was better than his first, but it was Neymar, who hit the target with the final shot.
After Neymar’s success, the trio left the field, and Neymar was visibly excited. The great camaraderie among the three players was also plenty on display.