Liverpool had to make a similar Virgil van Dijk apology in 2012

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Liverpool's pursuit of Virgil van Dijk appears to have ended even before the transfer window has officially opened after the club issued an apology for the speculation surrounding the Southampton star's future.

In an embarrassing turn of events, the Reds have dropped their interest in the Dutch centre-back - just days after looking odds-on to make him the most expensive defender in history.

But an outraged Southampton reported their Premier League rivals for an allegedly illegal approach for Van Dijk.

That prompted this grovelling apology from Liverpool:

"Liverpool Football Club would like to put on record our regret over recent media speculation regarding Southampton Football Club and player transfers between the two clubs," the statement read.

"We apologise to the owner, board of directors and fans of Southampton for any misunderstanding regarding Virgil van Dijk. We respect Southampton's position and can confirm we have ended any interest in the player."

However, this actually isn't the first time the Merseyside club have had to say sorry for their transfer approach.

Remember Clint Dempsey?

In 2012, the American international was in the form of his life for Fulham and scored 23 goals for Martin Jol's side.

He had done enough to attract the interest of Liverpool but they were soon forced to back off after being accused of tapping up the midfielder.

So concerned, co-owner Tom Werner made a personal visit to then Fulham owner Mohamed Al-Fayed while former managing director Ian Ayre sent a letter of apology.

"Please also consider this letter from me to be an additional expression of sincere regret and apology from our club to your club for our actions last summer. Our club can do better and we pledge that it will," Ayre wrote, as per the Daily Mail.

"It is indicative of the leadership of your chairman (Al-Fayed) over the years in football matters and his ability to place the best interests of the game ahead of an intramural dispute between clubs."

Sounds a bit familiar, doesn't it?

As their latest apology shows, Liverpool haven't quite learned from previous mistakes just yet.

That year, Dempsey went on to join Tottenham but spent just a year at White Hart Lane.

Where Van Dijk will play next season, though, remains unclear.

With Southampton's asking price believed to be in the region of £60 million, there will not be too many other clubs prepared to fork out such a fee on a centre-back.

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Clint Dempsey

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