11 Days Remaining

Saturday 12th
posted by Morning Star in Sport

Liverpool will rebuff any bids for Philippe Coutinho in this transfer window, the club’s US owners said yesterday, in the latest blow to Barcelona in its attempts to replace Neymar.

“The club’s definitive stance is that no offers for Philippe will be considered,” Fenway Sports Group said in a short statement, “and he will remain a member of Liverpool Football Club when the summer window closes.”

It comes a day after Borussia Dortmund said it had turned down a bid from Barcelona for France forward Ousmane Dembele, who subsequently missed a training session with the German club.

Barcelona is looking for a replacement for Neymar, who was sold to Paris Saint-Germain for a world-record fee of €222 million (£200m) last week.

Barcelona has made two offers for Coutinho, the latest reportedly being €100m.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has repeatedly said the club will not be selling the 25-year-old Coutinho, who has become a key player for the Premier League team and his country in recent years. 

“I think I have said [Coutinho would not be sold] already a few times, but maybe that’s not 100 per cent clear, said Klopp.

“I don’t think I ever told you anything about what I spoke to players [about]. I turned 50 in the summer, so maybe I forget things like this. I have nothing to say about this.”

Liverpool sold Luis Suarez to Barcelona in 2014, after the Uruguay striker pushed for a move away from Anfield. Coutinho, who joined Liverpool from Inter Milan in 2013, hasn’t publicly declared a desire to leave.

“The board want him to stay, this is not a situation where Liverpool need money or to cash in,” Liverpool great Steven Gerrard, the club’s under-18 coach, said this week about the Coutinho situation.

“We’re not a selling club so they’re going to do everything in their power for him to stay. But at the end of the day it comes down to Philippe Coutinho and his decision, what he’s prepared to do, what type of war he’s prepared to create to get out because Liverpool won’t make it easy for him.”

However, in a dramatic twist, Coutinho handed in a transfer request hours after Klopp’s press conference in a bid to leave the club.