Belfast Telegraph

Jurgen Klopp dismisses any interest in Brazilian playmaker Philippe Coutinho

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has slammed the door on any interest in Philippe Coutinho and vowed: "We are not a selling club."

Brazilian playmaker Coutinho has been linked with a move to Barcelona, with the Spanish giants understood to have bid £72million for him.

The 25-year-old is arguably the Reds' most important creative force and Klopp was adamant that the club have never, and will never, listen to bids for the player.

Asked if Coutinho was not for sale, Klopp told a press conference in Hong Kong on Friday: "Yes, that's what we can say. But that's not since this morning or yesterday, I'm not sure if it was different at any time. So, yes.

"I'm not surprised that any club is interested in players, if it is like this. A few people obviously see that Liverpool has a few good players. That's how it is.

"But a very important message, maybe - we are not a selling club.

"We believe in working together, we believe in development together. We believe in using the basis. We want to work together, we want to make the next step together and for this we need to stay together. That's how it is."

Klopp made an addition to his squad on Friday, wrapping up the signing of left-back Andrew Robertson.

The 23-year-old Scotland international arrived at Anfield from relegated Hull in a deal worth around £8million, with midfielder Kevin Stewart moving in the opposite direction.

And Klopp will surely also have noted Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk, a transfer target earlier this summer, has told Southampton he wants to leave.

Liverpool ended their interest in Van Dijk last month and apologised to Southampton for their conduct in their pursuit of the 26-year-old.

Meanwhile, Klopp revealed he had an emotional farewell with Brazilian midfielder Lucas Leiva following his departure from Anfield.

The 30-year-old, who joined from Gremio in 2007 and went on to make 346 appearances, completed his transfer to Italian club Lazio this week - yet Klopp hopes Reds fans have not seen the last of him.

"Things change but Lucas is a special case. He asked for it," Klopp told ESPN FC.

"I would say he's a friend. He's a fantastic person. How I know and how he knows, he has a few issues when he's not playing! But we always had a very respectful understanding. It was really good.

"When he left, we both had a little tear in our eye. It was really a special moment.

"He could sign a long-term contract in Rome (so) how can I say 'you stay here, but I don't know if you (will) sign a new contract and I don't know how often you will play next year'. So you need to be honest, especially with a player like him.

"He loves Liverpool. It's unbelievable. I told him that the door is always open for him after his three years and (if) I'm still here then we will find a place for him.

"I'm sure he'll be a fantastic coach or manager."

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