Wednesday 18 September 2019

Klopp: I couldn't be sure Coutinho would give 100pc

Jurgen Klopp insists Liverpool has much to offer players. Photo: Getty
Jurgen Klopp insists Liverpool has much to offer players. Photo: Getty

Chris Bascombe

Jurgen Klopp says he sold Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona because he could not be sure of the Brazilian's 100 per cent commitment to Liverpool for the rest of the season.

The Liverpool manager offered an in-depth explanation for his club's decision to accept a €160 million fee and confirmed he would have the chance to reinvest every penny of it "and more".

Klopp said the move would have been blocked had he instructed club owner Fenway Sports Group to keep the player. But after continued discussions, Klopp felt Coutinho had to go.

"It was just clear after we spoke that it would not work out," said Klopp. "We knew it when the club tried everything.

"We had a lot of talks about different things, how we can do this or that, but if somebody denies things like that then it is clear the decision is done. At some point, you need to accept it and that is what we did.

"I can imagine what people have said and written this week and I would think similar if we, as a club, had not tried everything.

"If the club said after the first call, 'good idea, we wanted to call you actually because we don't want to have him' then it would be different.

"But we tried everything. If anybody would say afterwards it's because we didn't fight enough, they will never know 100 per cent all the information.

"You cannot use him if he's not 100 per cent. Philippe Coutinho is a world-class player but if he's not 100 per cent, he's not that international class or Premier League class.

"You lose the grip. If you get an injury, if something happens in a game - you miss a ball, stuff like that - you think, 'I would love to miss it in Barcelona instead of Liverpool.' You know players are different. I've had this very often.

"When they've lost one opportunity, you will never get the same player again."

Coutinho told Liverpool that Barcelona was the only club in the world that could tempt him.

Klopp felt denying him the chance was detrimental, but says the sale should be seen in isolation.

"If you can live in Barcelona and speak the language even better than the language here, would you say no for the rest of your life? This is how it is," said Klopp.

"We probably cannot do this for all players but as a club we have to (ensure) there is no need to leave from the sports side. There is always a team that is doing a little bit better, or maybe not better but they have a few more points, or more money, but we really have a lot to offer. Yes, maybe we do need to make it more clear in the future but look at what we have. Mo Salah. We didn't go to Rome and kidnap him. He wanted to come.

"Sadio Mane. Not all the teams wanted him but they want him now. We have these players.

"Gini Wijnaldum. Not everyone thought 'fantastic idea!' but a lot of clubs wanted him and we have him. We will carry on like this.

"Oxlade-Chamberlain. London is not a bad city I heard but he came here for the football."

Klopp has vowed to reinvest the extraordinary Coutinho fee, but would not say when.

Liverpool would not, for example, join the auction for Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez.

"You know I'm not a manager who counts all the money and goes to the owners and says we need this. The owners are completely on my side," he said.

"We have no money issues at this club. We will get all the money. Always since I'm in here we can have all the monies from transfers and more if needed.

"Nobody told me 'no way'. So far, we got all the players we wanted. Now, one has left, and it's not too cool, but it's not a real problem."

Klopp was reminded how Liverpool suffered when losing Xabi Alonso, Fernando Torres and Luis Suarez in the past.

"I don't know how it was in these times. We don't play 'hero' football. It's not one hero and the rest try to help them a little bit," he said.

"We already put responsibility on different shoulders. Our game worked with Coutinho really well, sometimes not. It's all about how we react as a club.

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