Belfast Telegraph

Klopp rejects Barcelona claim that Coutinho deal is close

 

By Carl Markham

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has dismissed Barcelona claims that a deal for wantaway playmaker Philippe Coutinho is close to completion.

The club have rejected two bids from Barcelona, the last €100m (£90.9m), and a week ago issued a defiant statement insisting no offers would be considered and the player would remain at Anfield beyond the summer window.

Coutinho, who is currently sidelined with a back injury, immediately handed in a transfer request and after Wednesday night's Spanish Super Cup defeat to Real Madrid, Pep Segura, Liverpool's former academy technical manager and now Barcelona's general manager, said on Spanish television: "We are close to Coutinho and (Ousmane) Dembele.

"We are discussing their deals but do not know when it will be done." Asked if he expected them to sign, he added: "Yes, we expect it."

However, Klopp is adamant there have been no more developments and the two clubs are not even in discussions.

"I saw the game (Real-Barcelona) but I forgot to watch the interviews afterwards. Nothing to say from our side," said the Reds boss.

"I don't know why other people are saying what they are saying. I don't even know them - especially this guy, I've never even met him."

Asked whether there had been any subsequent talks, Klopp added: "I am not sure I have to answer this because we have said what we have to say, or the club said what we have to say.

"No news from me because no one told me anything different since we spoke last time about this."

There have been suggestions Coutinho could agitate for a move by effectively going on strike but while he is still injured that is impossible.

Klopp - whose side face Crystal Palace tomorrow - was asked about the prospect of this and the Brazil international's general attitude.

"I have nothing to say about his attitude because since he has had a back problem he has not been in training," he said.

"I asked the medical department how he is doing and there are no complaints so that is how it is. There is nothing bad to say.

"We are all not silly. We know it is a very difficult situation but there is nothing new to say.

"It is not always easy for me to say the 100 per cent truth - even though I don't like to - but it is exactly how I say it because that is how it is in the moment, nothing else."

Ω West Ham remain hopeful of signing Portugal midfielder William Carvalho.

While the player himself is keen on a move to London, his club Sporting Lisbon are reportedly holding out for £40m for the 25-year-old.

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