Monday 23 July 2018

Klopp tells Barcelona Coutinho is staying put

Liverpool boss insists Brazilian ace not for sale as he intends to 'have the best possible team'

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and Philippe Coutinho
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and Philippe Coutinho

Chris Bascombe

Jurgen Klopp has issued a hands-off warning to Barcelona - insisting that there is "no price" that can convince Liverpool to sell Philippe Coutinho and claiming it is the wrong time for the Brazilian to be sold to the Spanish giants.

Following Barcelona's second rejected bid of £90 million on Wednesday, Klopp told Sky Germany: "From a financial standpoint, there is no price limit to let him go or a price that we are ready to give in. Our goal is to have the best possible team. So we want to keep our guys and add new ones."

Klopp has been frustrated with his pursuit of elite targets such as Naby Keita and Virgil van Dijk, whose valuations demonstrate that Klopp still has a kitty well in excess of £100 million at his disposal.

"Today no player on the planet is untouchable. But a transfer is also a question of timing and if you have the opportunity and the need to react to such a transfer," he said. "Liverpool is not a club that has to sell players. That is set in stone."

Barca have plenty of money to spend, having sold Coutinho's compatriot Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain for a world-record £200.6million last week.

Coutinho, who joined Liverpool from Inter Milan for £8.5million in 2013, signed a new five-year deal with the Merseyside outfit in January that did not include a buy-out clause. The 25-year-old was their leading scorer with 14 goals in all competitions last term, a season that saw Klopp's men secure a fourth-placed finish in the Premier League.

Liverpool open their 2017-18 campaign with tomorrow's league clash against Watford at Vicarage Road and there are doubts over whether Coutinho will be available, with him having been receiving treatment this week for a back issue.

Meanwhile, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has revealed how uncertainty over his future last season created a "lack of clarity in the dressing room" and saw players asking him what was going on.

Wenger eventually signed a new two-year contract extension following an end to a campaign which finished on a high with victory in the FA Cup final after failing to secure Champions League qualification for the first time under his long tenure. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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