Liverpool's Crucial Summer Is Off to a Disastrous Start

The recent saga involving Virgil van Dijk, which is the Reds' latest public relations gaffe, is another humiliating situation for the Merseyside club. It comes at a terrible time as Liverpool need to have a productive summer transfer window.

The summer transfer window has not even opened yet, and Liverpool are off to a humiliating start. Their pursuit of Southampton's Virgil van Dijk began and ended in two days, but the ending is perhaps the most embarrassing part.

Liverpool and Fenway Sports Group issued an apology after Southampton alleged an illegal move for the defender. Despite a good finish to the season, Liverpool fans are confused and frustrated before their team can officially sign players.

Van Dijk is one of the best defenders in the Premier League, and Southampton said their team captain would not be on the move. However, he has been linked to other clubs, including Liverpool, and Southampton have the reputation of selling off their top players. Thus, the advancement Liverpool made for the player makes sense. From the time interest was shown, Southampton made it clear that Liverpool missed their mark.

Liverpool likely could have kept news of their interest under wraps in order to follow proper protocol and pursued van Dijk without the embarrassment. After all, it is silly season, and crazy figures are thrown out as every top player is linked with nine clubs across Europe.

There is also a sentiment that many of the top clubs will make approaches for players when they are supposedly "unavailable". However, Liverpool should have learned from their own mistakes by now. This is not the first time they have been accused of an illegal approach, but they have gotten off fairly easy in terms of formal punishment.

The scrutiny comes from their fans, who are enduring another public relations nightmare and losing confidence in their team's ability to be a big player in the grand transfer market. From the Luis Suarez ban to overstepping their bounds when trying to sign Clint Dempsey or the ticket price debacle last season, the Fenway Sports Group may have just applied the icing on their cake of embarrassment.

Liverpool must try to move away from being the laughing stock of the transfer window and try to gain back the trust of their fans. Perhaps they can start by sealing the deal for Mohamed Salah. Regardless, the latest gaffe has put Liverpool on the back foot for the upcoming transfer window -- which is a big one for a club that needs reinforcements as it gears up for Champions League football -- before it's officially started.