Liverpool reject €80m Barcelona bid for Philippe Coutinho

Klopp: ‘The very important message is that we are not a selling club and that’s how it is’

 Philippe Coutinho celebrates with team mates after a goal against Crystal Palace at the Premier League Asia Trophy in Hong Kong. Photograph: Getty Images

Philippe Coutinho celebrates with team mates after a goal against Crystal Palace at the Premier League Asia Trophy in Hong Kong. Photograph: Getty Images

 

Jürgen Klopp has said Liverpool are not a selling club after rejecting an €80m (£72m) bid from Barcelona for Philippe Coutinho. Liverpool are adamant the Brazilian playmaker will stay at Anfield irrespective of a higher bid from the Spanish club.

Barcelona have been heavily linked with the 25-year-old since the turn of the year but their opening offer was immediately rejected by Liverpool, who insist 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 have been braced for a move from Barcelona, who view 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 are 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 have 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 £66m offer from Anfield for the midfielder earlier this week. Liverpool, however, have continued to pursue a deal for the Guinea international despite being informed directly by Leipzig officials that Keïta will not be sold this summer.

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