EX-SAINT Virgil van Dijk claims he ‘gave everything’ at Saints before sealing his £75m move to Liverpool in January 2017.

The towering centre-half joined the St Mary’s side in 2015 from Celtic on a five-year contract and quickly established himself as one of the Premier League’s best defenders.

Liverpool chased the Dutch international’s signature throughout the summer of 2017, but Saints refused to give in to their advances.

Van Dijk told the BBC: “After the end of August [and the transfer window] I put my head down, played for Southampton and gave everything. 

Daily Echo: Former Saints duo Virgil van Dijk and Claude PuelFormer Saints duo Virgil van Dijk and Claude Puel

“I was happy to play because I came back from an eight-month injury.

“When everything happened over the summer, people doubt you. 

“For me, I really didn't care as I gave everything in games and training. When it was December and I got a call to say they got a deal done and I could talk to Liverpool, I was very happy.”

Van Dijk found himself being courted by the Liverpool fans eight-months before eventually joining the club.

The former Saint revealed that he was prompted to sign for the Anfield side when he bumped into them at the end of the 2016/17 season.

He added: “I went to the Juventus v Real Madrid Champions League final in Cardiff in 2017 and a lot of Liverpool fans came to me and said I had to sign for them.

“It was a great gesture; they were nice and respectful.”