Liverpool have abandoned their hopes of signing Virgil van Dijk from Southampton after reports that manager Jurgen Klopp held a secret meeting with the Dutch defender in Blackpool.
The Anfield club has apologised to Southampton for “any misunderstanding” over their interest.
It is believed Saints had not received any contact from the Reds regarding the 25-year-old, though it has been widely reported that Klopp texted van Dijk repeatedly and met with him in Blackpool.
The south coast club are understood to have asked the Premier League on Tuesday to investigate an alleged illegal approach.
A Liverpool statement read: “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. 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.”
Nathaniel Clyne, Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren, Rickie Lambert and Sadio Mane have all left Saints for Liverpool in recent years.