1032 GMT August 20, 2018
Liverpool is adamant the Brazilian playmaker will stay at Anfield irrespective of a higher bid from the Spanish club, the Guardian reported.
Barcelona has been heavily linked with the 25-year-old since the turn of the year but its opening offer was immediately rejected by Liverpool, which insists Coutinho is not for sale at any price. He signed a new five-year contract at Anfield only last season.
Coutinho’s latest contract, worth around £150,000-a-week, does not contain a release clause but Liverpool has been braced for a move from Barcelona, which views the player as a long-term replacement for Andrés Iniesta. The Brazil international is close friends with the Barcelona duo Neymar and Luis Suárez, who made the move from Merseyside in 2014.
Speaking in Hong Kong on Friday, where Liverpool is competing in the Premier League Asia Trophy, Klopp said, “Yes [Coutinho is not for sale] but that’s not since this morning or yesterday, it’s not been any different. Phil is a very important player for us. He’s trying to get back his rhythm but there’s no doubt about his quality. He’s very smart both offensively and defensively. The nice news for us is that he’s still young. He has improved a lot since I’ve been here and he can still improve a lot.
“I’m not surprised that any club is interested in players at Liverpool. The very important message is that we are not a selling club and that’s how it is. We believe in working together and developing together. We want to make the next step together and for this we need to stay together. We have to create a situation where everybody is easily able to see which direction we want to go. It’s really positive. This is a fantastic club and it’s a good moment for Liverpool.”
Liverpool has sold key talents in the recent past – Suárez, Raheem Sterling and Fernando Torres – but unlike that trio Coutinho has not pushed for a transfer and has repeatedly stated his contentment at Anfield.
He said in May, “Go somewhere else, to Barcelona, to Bayern Munich, to Real Madrid, and you will be just another player. Here you can be something more. I have a long contract with Liverpool.”
Klopp’s stance on Coutinho is similar to RB Leipzig’s position on the Liverpool target Naby Keïta, with the Bundesliga club rejecting a £66 million offer from Anfield for the midfielder earlier this week. Liverpool, however, has continued to pursue a deal for the Guinea international despite being informed directly by Leipzig officials that Keïta will not be sold this summer.