Chelsea are now the firm favourites to land Virgil van Dijk after Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp reportedly ended his interest in the defender.
The Southampton star has been one of Liverpool’s top targets all summer, although the Reds were reported for tapping up the player and at one point officially ended their chase in the 26-year-old.
However, that interest was soon renewed, by which time Antonio Conte’s men had also entered the race for the Holland international.
Saints are believed to favour selling the centre-back to Chelsea, after their unhappiness at Liverpool’s initial approach for the player, but that could all be academic as Klopp is seemingly ready to go into the new season with the defenders that he already has at his disposal.
The quartet of Dejan Lovren, Joel Matip, Ragnar Klavan and Joe Gomez will now be tasked with forming a strong central defensive unit for the Reds, who still have funds available should Klopp change his mind and look to strengthen in that area.
Klopp said: “We have four centre-backs. I don’t think we need more.
“Just at the moment I’m fine. The transfer market is open until the 31st of August.
“We cannot force things and we would never get a centre-back just because someone is available.
“Look out there and tell me five that would make us stronger. Then you win a prize! It’s difficult.
“I’m happy. You can imagine we still work on different things and we will see if it works.
“I am here to work with this squad and not just always thinking, ‘But if we don’t get this or this’.”
Chelsea, meanwhile, are now expected to bid £50million for the Saints star.