Jurgen Klopp Adamant Liverpool Will Not Sell Star Man as Barcelona Make New £72m Offer
Coutinho has long been linked with a move to Camp Nou, where he would have the chance to play with Brazil team-mate and close friend Neymar, but Klopp is having none of it.
"That's an interesting question, because you know my answer before," was Klopp's response (Sky Sports) when the topic of Coutinho's future was raised in a press conference in Hong Kong.
"I have nothing to say about this, I'm sorry but obviously these stories are without my saying, so why should I disturb this process? Do whatever you want with this news, I am not interested. But what I can say, keeping the group together would make sense.
“Yes (he is not for sale), but that's not since this morning or yesterday, it's not been any different. I'm not surprised but it's not a compliment. It's not that I need it but a few people obviously see that Liverpool have a few good players. So, that's how it is.
“But, a very important message – maybe we're not a selling club. That's how it is."
The Mail specifically states that Barcelona have identified Coutinho as a replacement for ageing captain and Camp Nou legend Andres Iniesta. But Liverpool are obviously said to have rejected the offer, with Coutinho under long-term contract at Anfield.
There have always been doubts over Barcelona's apparent interest in Coutinho in the past, with suggestions that earlier rumours were an invention of agents trying to broker a deal. This time, however, one wonders if there is a link to the Neymar saga that has exploded this week.
The Brazil superstar is said to be keen on escaping Lionel Messi's shadow in Catalunya and has reportedly accepted an offer from Paris Saint-Germain. It has been said that Neymar was put out after Messi's recent contract saw the Argentine handed the kind of lucrative terms that he himself was denied just a year earlier, with PSG willing to put him a par with Messi, financially.
Any such deal may now rest on PSG's willingness to trigger Neymar's €220m release clause.
Neymar is close with Coutinho and has expressed his desire to have the Liverpool star join him in the past. The timing is too convenient to be a coincidence, so could Barcelona's sudden interest in Coutinho be an attempt to appease Neymar? Only time will tell.