Jamie Carragher has branded Liverpool’s failed pursuit of Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk as a ‘shambles’ and hit back at Matt Le Tissier for saying his former club lacked class.

The Reds were overwhelming favourites to sign the Dutch defender this summer after the player indicated he was keen to work with Jurgen Klopp at Anfield.

But the Merseyside club have since dropped their interest in the player, following Southampton’s decision to report Liverpool to the Premier League over an alleged ‘illegal approach.’


And while Carragher admitted Liverpool could have handled the situation better, he accused Le Tissier and Southampton of hypocrisy.

Carragher told Drivetime on talkSPORT: “I don’t have a problem with Liverpool speaking to Van Dijk because every club will be doing that right now.

“If Matt was speaking about the fact Liverpool spoke to Van Dijk – then no – I don’t think there was a problem with that.

“Matt only played for Southampton, so he wouldn’t have been involved in too many transfers, but I’m sure he almost went to Tottenham or Chelsea under Glenn Hoddle.

“I’d be very surprised if he never spoke to Glenn Hoddle before the clubs agreed a fee.

“I’m sure Ian Holloway reported Southampton to the FA over Matt Phillips, or there was some illegal tapping-up – so Southampton will be doing exactly the same thing.

“I guarantee Southampton will be doing exactly the same thing about a new manager.”

Liverpool offered a full apology to Southampton on Wednesday for ‘any misunderstanding’ regarding their pursuit of Van Dijk, and stated they had dropped any interest in the player.

And Carragher believes Southampton were irked by the nature of how the information was leaked to local journalists, rather than speaking to Van Dijk personally.

“I got a text message at around 4 o’clock on Tuesday or Wednesday, saying: there’s going to be an announcement on Van Dijk in about an hour’s time from the local press,” Carragher said.

“And I thought they must have agreed a fee with Southampton. And then all of a sudden, all the local journalists came out saying Virgil van Dijk wants to come to Liverpool.

“The only reason those journalists, who I know well, would put that out there, is if someone from the club gave them the thumbs up – a little nudge – to say you can go with that.

“I think if you haven’t agreed a fee, say nothing. If you don’t agree the fee – he’s not your player – how does he go to another club? He’s already said he wants to go to Liverpool.

“It is tapping up, but everyone does it. I know it’s against the rules, but it’s a case of not getting caught – maybe Liverpool have been caught.

“I think what Southampton wouldn’t have liked is that Liverpool would have fed that story to the local press and they thought: we’re not having that.

“And I totally get that.”