Coutinho: I want move to Barca

Liverpool reject Brazilian star's transfer request

Philippe Coutinho wants out of Liverpool, with an offer from Barcelona on the table.

Charlie Rusholme

Philippe Coutinho has demanded Liverpool release him to make his dream move to Barcelona a reality.

However, Liverpool have rejected his transfer request as they play hard-ball with the Spanish giants who have already seen a £90m bid for the Brazilian playmaker rebuffed.

The 25-year-old has been targeted by Barca as they seek to fill the gap left by Neymar, who departed for Paris St Germain last week in a record-breaking €222m deal.

It is understood Coutinho - who is out of today's Premier League clash at Watford because of a back problem - declared his desire to leave the Merseyside club yesterday by submitting a transfer request via email. The request was immediately turned down.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has gone on record a number of times emphasising the player is not for sale.

And the club's owners Fenway Sports Group (FSG) backed that up yesterday by saying in a statement: "The club's definitive stance is that no offers for Philippe will be considered and he will remain a member of Liverpool Football Club when the summer (transfer) window closes."

That message appeared on Liverpool's official website just prior to Klopp speaking at a press conference, during which he said of FSG's statement: "I think if somebody, in this case FSG, is saying something like this, that is the statement."

“I have said what the club’s decision is about this and now you can read it - that is maybe the only difference. And that is the way it will go.”

Soon after the press conference, reports emerged that Coutinho had handed in a transfer request. Liverpool initially insisted that was not the case, but it is understood the player did send an email.

Also yesterday, Sky Sports News received a statement said to be from a member of Coutinho’s family.

The statement said: “Philippe has tried very hard to find an amicable solution to this situation but to no avail. He has tremendous love for the club and its fans but, like Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez have pointed out in the past, Liverpool does not let its players leave on amicable terms.”

Klopp was asked about trying to keep Coutinho happy. The German said: “I can’t keep players