Liverpool are now apparently investigating other transfer targets as a report claims the club's hierarchy have refused to meet Southampton's £70m asking price for defender Virgil van Dijk.
After a fraught summer saga in which the player himself issued a transfer request and Liverpool were accused of 'tapping up', Southampton have remained stoic in their stance on van Dijk, with Mauricio Pellegrino in no hurry to offload their star defender, despite the 26-year-old's ongoing flirtation with a move away from St Mary's.
While the summer campaign from Liverpool to land the Dutchman came to nothing speculation has been reignited ahead of the January window, after the former Celtic star was dropped from the Southampton squad for their game against Chelsea over the weekend.
However, according to the Independent.ie Liverpool are no longer the front runners for the centre back after refusing to meet Southampton's extravagant £70m valuation, and are now considering other alternatives.
The report claims that while Liverpool's position may yet be part of a negotiation tactic, Premier League rivals Manchester City and Chelsea also keen on Van Dijk increasing competition.
Following their 1-0 defeat at the hands of Chelsea, Southampton boss Mauricio Pellegrino commented on van Dijk's situation, saying: "I can't control the market. I'm not the owner of the player. I can have my opinion and this I have given to the technical director, to the chairman. After, the board can decide all together which is the best for the team.
"I will repeat that I can't control the market right now. I can't control this.
The Saints stand firm that their valuation of van Dijk is reasonable, as he is eligible to play in the latter stages of both the Champions League and Europa League and still has over three years remaining on his current contract.