Belfast Telegraph

Klopp happy with 'Pool despite Barca's Coutinho chase

By Robert Jones

Jurgen Klopp has described Liverpool as being "in a good shape" ahead of the new season - while keeping quiet about Philippe Coutinho's future. Klopp did not make any specific reference to Coutinho, the Reds playmaker who continues to be linked with Barcelona.

Barca had a £90million bid for the Brazil star rejected last night and, having sold his compatriot Neymar to Paris St Germain for a world-record £200.6million, are stepping up their pursuit of the 25-year-old.

Liverpool completed their pre-season matches by beating Athletic Bilbao 3-1 in Dublin on Saturday, with Coutinho one of a number of players missing due to illness and niggles.

The Merseyside outfit begin their campaign away to Watford on Saturday, then travel to Germany for Tuesday's Champions League qualifying play-off first leg against Hoffenheim.

Klopp said: "When we finished last season in fourth everybody was really happy about it - it was really a good result for a big effort.

"We knew also there would be a qualification game, and now it is coming up. But the first challenge we have to face is playing Watford, even though everybody is thinking about the Champions League qualifiers.

"We are in a good shape - yes, there have been one or two little injuries and one bigger (Adam Lallana's thigh problem), but that is how life is."

• Arsenal have been hit with an injury blow ahead of their opener at home to Leicester tomorrow after manager Arsene Wenger revealed Alexis Sanchez is out with an abdominal injury.

The absence of the Chile international will only raise more questions over his Emirates Stadium future.

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