Philippe Coutinho emailed transfer request to Liverpool
Club had earlier released official statement saying player not for sale at any price
Liverpool earlier denied Philippe Coutinho handed in a transfer request. Photograph: Jan Hetfleisch/Getty
Philippe Coutinho emailed a transfer request to Liverpool minutes after the club had insisted they would not accept any offers for the Brazil playmaker. Liverpool have rejected the request, which Coutinho sent to the club’s sporting director, Michael Edwards, in response to the owners’ declaration he would not be sold this summer.
Barcelona have had two bids turned down for the 25-year-old, the second in the region of £90 million (€99m) on Wednesday. After Jürgen Klopp insisted that Coutinho was not for sale, that stance was reiterated in a statement by the club’s owners Fenway Sports Group.
However, it is understood from a source close to the player that Coutinho is unhappy with the way Liverpool have handled the negotiations. He had so far refused to agitate for a move despite having informed the club of his desire to join Barça, instead opting to wait for the situation to be resolved.
Yet with Liverpool steadfastly refusing to soften their position in the face of a third offer, Coutinho decided to attempt to take matters into his own hands.
Earlier, the statement from FSG was adamant the player signed from Internazionale in 2013 would still be at Anfield at the end of the month. “We wish to offer clarity as regards our position on a possible transfer of Philippe Coutinho,” it read. “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.”
Klopp, speaking at a pre-match press conference ahead of Liverpool’s Premier League opener at Watford on Saturday, again reiterated his stance but remained coy about his private talks with the Brazilian.
“I think if somebody, in this case FSG, is saying something like this it is the statement,” said the German. “I think I have said it already a few times, but maybe that’s not 100 per cent clear.
“I don’t think I ever told you anything about what I spoke to players [about]. I turned 50 in the summer, so maybe I forget things like this. I have nothing to say about this.”
Barça have plenty of money to spend, having sold Coutinho’s compatriot Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain for a world-record £198 million (€220m) last week. Coutinho signed a new five-year deal with the Merseyside club 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.
He will not be available to face Watford this weekend, however, and is a doubt for the first leg of the Champions League qualifying play-off against Hoffenheim on Tuesday, after failing to recover from a back injury.
Asked if Coutinho would be involved on Saturday, Klopp said: “No, he has back problems. He was not in training since last Friday. No he is not available, he is also a doubt for Tuesday, unfortunately.”
When asked if his job was now to keep Coutinho happy, Klopp added: “I can’t keep players happy. That’s how life is. It’s not about this, Phil is not available for us, that’s the biggest issue that he’s not available to play.”