Belfast Telegraph

Klopp stands firm over Coutinho with Barca lurking


By Matt Slater

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has reiterated his stance that Barcelona target Philippe Coutinho is not for sale.

In July, the Reds rejected a £72million bid for the Brazil international but that does not appear to have deterred the La Liga club, with speculation growing that they will return with an improved offer.

With reports suggesting it is increasingly likely Coutinho's compatriot Neymar is set to join Paris St Germain, Barcelona will have a hole to fill, and having identified the Pool playmaker as the ideal replacement another bid cannot be ruled out.

Klopp's position remains unchanged, however, and he made his views clear at a press conference ahead of today's Audi Cup match against Bayern Munich in Germany.

"If you say he is not available to be sold, where is the interpretation?" said Klopp. "The word 'not' means there is no interpretation. There is nothing new."

While Coutinho is set to feature against the Bundesliga champions, defender Joe Gomez and striker Divock Origi have been ruled out of both matches at the Audi Cup.

Origi was withdrawn from the starting line-up for Saturday's friendly against Hertha Berlin late on after reporting a tight hamstring while Gomez, who played in the 3-0 victory, has a minor knee problem. "Divock won't be available for the two Audi Cup games. He has picked up a very slight muscle injury," Klopp said.

"We are being cautious with this but it makes sense to be that way.

"He will be monitored over the next few days but we are not overly concerned."

On Gomez, Klopp added: "He will be missing from the next few games.

"It is nothing too serious, a little issue with his knee picked up in the game but we will take no risk with him."

Klopp also does not want to risk striker Danny Ings, who is still working his way back to full fitness after a knee operation in October.

Right-back Nathaniel Clyne and third-choice goalkeeper Danny Ward are both sidelined with back injuries but keeper Loris Karius, centre-back Dejan Lovren and Klopp's stand-in left-back last season James Milner are all available after minor niggles.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph