Barcelona-target Philippe Coutinho loves Liverpool, says Klopp

The 50-year-old did not want to share details of his discussion with the midfielder, but did state he knows the player is very content at Anfield

Jurgen Klopp confirmed he spoke to Philippe Coutinho following Liverpool’s rebuffing of Barcelona’s £72 million bid for the Brazil international, who is “more than comfortable” at Anfield.

The Reds informed the Spanish giants that the 25-year-old is not for sale for any price on Thursday night immediately after receiving their offer.

Classy Coutinho is priceless

HD Phil Coutinho

And that private communication was publicly declared a day later, with Klopp reaffirming his star player is not on the market at a press conference.

Following Liverpool’s 2-1 victory in the final of the Premier League Asia Trophy, in which the maestro was the standout performer as he set up Mohamed Salah’s opener before adding a cracking, curled finish of his own, the manager revealed the attacker is happy on Merseyside.

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“Everybody knows that Phil Coutinho is a key player for us, no doubt,” said Klopp in the post-match media briefing on Saturday.

“I know he feels completely more than fine, comfortable – or whatever – in Liverpool. 

GFX Quote Phil Coutinho happy at Liverpool

“He loves the club, he loves the city and all that is clear.

“That he is able to play like he did tonight in a very difficult moment in pre-season after all these sessions is good to see and shows his big potential.”

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The 50-year-old did not want to share details of his discussion with Coutinho, but the above confidence in the Brazilian’s feeling at present would’ve been gleaned from those talks.

The playmaker signed a new five-year deal in January without a release clause – another indication of his willingness to continue being central to Klopp’s ambitions for Liverpool.

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Classy Philippe Coutinho shows more evidence of why Barcelona want him and Liverpool should keep him at all costs

The 25-year-old orchestrated his side’s Premier League Asia Trophy final victory over Leicester with a clever assist and cracking curler on Saturday

There had been desperation for a sign; any indication of whether Liverpool rejecting a £72 million bid from Barcelona for Philippe Coutinho would lead to him sulking and had muddled his mind, or if he’d engage in a gesture to suggest the opposite.

Instead, the only evidence the Brazil international provided on a sticky night at Hong Kong Stadium on Saturday was of his spellbinding talents.

Liverpool 2-1 Leicester

HD Phil Coutinho Origi Salah

It was instructive as to why the Spanish giants court him, and a well-timed reminder of why the Merseysiders have to ensure he continues to be their creative heartbeat.

Coutinho would have known that regardless of what he did on the pitch, the coverage post-match would centre on him just as it did leading into the Premier League Asia Trophy final against Leicester.

Stationed in a midfield three – just in front of Gini Wijnaldum and in tandem with Adam Lallana – he stylishly shrugged that off and was the architect of his side’s 2-1 victory.

The 25-year-old first supplied Mohamed Salah before treating the 39,498-strong Liverpool-dominated crowd to his trademark cut-in-and-curl-into-far-corner finish.

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It was the performance of a true luminary as Coutinho controlled the Reds’ direction in possession, despite being the prime target of persistent fouling.

For the opening goal, he was positioned deep and switched play with a dissecting delivery to Salah on the right flank. Coutinho advanced as the Egyptian played a one-two with Trent Alexander-Arnold and freed himself to receive the ball.

He anticipated the speedster’s dart between Danny Drinkwater and Harry Maguire, lofting a pass into that very space. Salah, having kept Christian Fuchs in his shadow, headed in to equalise after Islam Slimani’s opener.

HD Phil Coutinho Mohamed Salah

Coutinho then took the game away from Craig Shakespeare’s side in the 44th minute, after fine interplay between the club’s record signing and Roberto Firmino.

With his countryman flicking the ball out to the left, Coutinho fetched it, took a touch and cut onto his right foot, driving inside before curling a cracker beyond Kasper Schmeichel.

You knew it was coming, Leicester did too, but he couldn’t be stopped.

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It is no surprise that Barcelona covet him so intensely and have done so for a while; he can bend a match to his will and make things happen.

As Lallana pointed out, the Rio-born maestro is “in that elite bracket.” The midfielder also stressed that Liverpool are “a massive club. If we’re going to win competitions like the Champions League and Premier League, then we need to keep our players like Philippe.”

The Anfield side’s talent drain in recent history has been stifling, proving progress cannot be a smooth process during a constant state of rebuild.

HD Phil Coutinho Mohamed Salah

Jurgen Klopp has not lost a core member of his squad since taking charge in October 2015, and has already confirmed that will not change this summer.

Barcelona have been told Coutinho is not for sale at any price and on Sunday, he illustrated just why Liverpool can’t afford to lose him.

The showpiece may have only been a practice match, but these fixtures form the base for the season. Klopp wants his players to ensure they’re displaying good habits continually and being the fulcrum – whether it’s against Leicester in Asia or in the league at King Power Stadium.

GFX Quote Phil Coutinho happy at Liverpool

The Reds boss, having spoken to the Brazilian following the rejection of Barca’s offer, is confident he will remain focal to their ambitions.

“Everybody knows that Phil Coutinho is a key player for us, no doubt,” Klopp said after the victory.

“I know he feels completely more than fine, comfortable – or whatever – in Liverpool. He loves the club, he loves the city and all that is clear.

“That he is able to play like he did tonight, in a very difficult moment in pre-season after all these sessions, is good to see and shows his big potential.”

It also showed that Liverpool have to be anchored to their hardline stance on his future.

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Liverpool 2 Leicester City 1: Coutinho shines as Klopp’s men prosper

Mohamed Salah and Philippe Coutinho were on target for Liverpool as they beat Leicester City 2-1 to win the Premier League Asia Trophy.

Philippe Coutinho treated Liverpool fans in Hong Kong to a performance full of promise for the new season as the Reds beat Leicester City 2-1 in the Premier League Asia Trophy final.

Having overcome Crystal Palace 2-0 in their previous game of the pre-season tournament, Jurgen Klopp’s side looked sharp and cohesive as they scored two first-half goals following Islam Slimani’s 12th-minute opener for Leicester.

Mohamed Salah combined with Coutinho to equalise and the Brazilian playmaker scored a superb solo effort to put Liverpool ahead before half-time.

With three weeks to go until the start of the season, Klopp will have been pleased to see his forwards linking up intuitively, with winger Salah gelling well with his new team-mates after joining from Roma in June.

Leicester’s new signing Harry Maguire endured a tough test in defence and manager Craig Shakespeare will be looking for more from his players in their forthcoming friendlies, which include a meeting with Borussia Monchengladbach.

Coutinho in particular excited the crowd at Hong Kong Stadium and he rifled a low shot into the body of goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel from 25 yards after three minutes.

Leicester attacked incisively in the early stages and, after good work down the left flank by Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez – linked with a possible move away from the club during the close-season – crossed for Slimani to powerfully head home at the far post.

Eight minutes later, Salah set off on a probing run down the Liverpool right and he cut inside before squaring to Coutinho, who played a delightful chipped pass into the box where the Egyptian timed his run perfectly and nodded the ball past Schmeichel into the bottom-left corner.

Liverpool took control thereafter and Coutinho delighted the crowd in the 44th minute when he broke down the left before cutting inside, sending a thunderbolt of a shot into the far corner from the edge of the box.

Klopp made four changes at half-time, sending on Ragnar Klavan, Marko Grujic, Jordan Henderson and Daniel Sturridge, and Grujic hit a spectacular volley over the crossbar in the 49th minute as Liverpool picked up where they left off in the second period.

Having recovered from their lapse early in the first half, Liverpool’s defence coped well with the threat posed by Leicester’s two-pronged attack and Loris Karius did well to deny Vardy, rushing out to claim the ball from the England striker’s feet.

Vardy sent a shot just wide moments later but as the second half wore on both teams began to suffer the effects of the warm temperatures and there were few chances at either end as Liverpool ran out comfortable winners.

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Liverpool tell Barcelona Philippe Coutinho is not for sale at any price after rejecting £72m

Jurgen Klopp re-iterated on Tuesday that the Reds will not lose a player they want to keep in the window, while the 25-year-old has no release clause

Liverpool rejected an opening offer of £72 million for Philippe Coutinho from Barcelona on Thursday night with the message that he is not for sale this summer – at any price.

The Spanish giants, who earlier shelved their long-term drive for the Brazil international due to feeling it was ‘impossible’ from a financial and sporting perspective after he signed a new five-year deal without a release clause in January, have now been pushed into making their move following Paris Saint-Germain’s world-record pursuit of Neymar.

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HD Phil Coutinho

The French club are willing to pay €222m (£199m) for the forward – the exit fee in his contract – having considered Coutinho themselves in their ambitious recruitment drive.

PSG did not make a formal enquiry for Liverpool’s highest-paid player, with the Reds strongly stating none would be welcomed.

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That was evident in the way the Reds rebuffed Barca’s approach, with Jurgen Klopp re-iterating on Tuesday that they “will not lose a player we want to keep this summer.”

Coutinho is aware he is core to the manager’s ambitions, and his happiness at Anfield was confirmed by his preparedness to ink fresh terms at the turn of 2017 with no escape stipulation.

HD Phil Coutinho

“I signed this new contract to stay here for a few more years because it’s a great honour for me,” he said at the time.

“It gives me great happiness because I was welcomed here with open arms by everyone at the club and the supporters right from my first day.

“I am very thankful to this football club for everything.”

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Liverpool’s attitude over Coutinho not being on the market mirrors RB Leipzig’s with Naby Keita, who is Klopp’s priority midfield target.

The Bundesliga side have batted away two offers for the Guinea international with a deal “practically impossible” for the Reds to pull off.

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Liverpool won’t sell Coutinho or any other key player, confirms a ‘relaxed’ Klopp

The Reds boss will not sanction an exit for the Brazil international or any other key player ahead of the new campaign as they take “the next step”

Jurgen Klopp remains calm over Liverpool’s limited business in the transfer window so far and insisted the advancement of the current squad is equally as important as making new signings.

Mohamed Salah and Dominic Solanke have been the only recruits for the Reds this summer, with the club aiming to further strengthen at left-back, midfield and in the heart of defence.

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HD Mohamed Salah

Hull City’s Andy Robertson is on the agenda to provide competition for James Milner in a deal worth around £8 million, while an opening £57m bid for RB Leipzig’s Naby Keita was rejected, with the dynamo the priority target to elevate the quality in the centre of the park.

Liverpool were forced into making an apology to Southampton over Virgil van Dijk and publicly ended their interest in the defender on June 7.

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Despite the difficulties in getting their main business over the line, Klopp has refused to panic or become annoyed.

“I am not easy to frustrate. It’s the transfer market,” he said.

“Sometimes things work out, sometimes they don’t. That’s how it is. I’m still relaxed. Everything is open until August 31.”

HD Phil Coutinho

Paris Saint-Germain have been heavily linked with Philippe Coutinho, but the Reds boss will not sanction an exit for the Brazil international or any other key player in the squad.

The 50-year-old is expecting the current group to reach another level in the upcoming campaign given their shared experiences under his tenure.

“Not with only Phil, but it’s a good thing to talk about in the transfer window because the world thinks improving is only about bringing in new players,” Klopp noted.

HD Jurgen Klopp Liverpool squad

“Nobody thinks that the players we already have will make the next step, which is also a nice idea. We use the transfer window, of course, because it gives us an opportunity, but the main thing I think about is how we can make the next step with the players we had last season.

“The good news is we didn’t lose – and we will not lose – a player we want to keep this summer. That’s the best news actually and then we’ll see who can bring into the squad. I expect a lot of progress from the players based on their experiences from the last years.”

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PSG face further transfer failure if they pursue Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho

The Reds’ highest-paid player signed a new five-year deal without a release clause in January and has no desire to depart Anfield this summer

Liverpool have fielded no enquiries from Paris Saint-Germain over Philippe Coutinho and have reiterated none would be welcomed nor entertained over the Brazil international.

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The Ligue 1 side made advances to the 25-year-old’s camp last summer and he has again featured on the club’s list of elite targets  – a move understood to be driven by Olivier Letang, their former sporting director who now works alongside the player’s agent Kia Joorabchian.

HD Phil Coutinho

Coutinho, who will report back to Merseyside for pre-season training on Tuesday after an extended break given his international exertions, is perhaps more unattainable than Kylian Mbappe – PSG’s priority objective in the window.

The teenage sensation is considering an exit from Monaco, which would set a new world-record fee, with Real Madrid in prime position to sign him whether that happens this year or next.

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Liverpool’s highest-paid player, meanwhile, affirmed his commitment to the club by signing a new five-year deal without a release clause in January.

Coutinho is not for sale and has no desire to depart Anfield this summer with Barcelona already having to shelve their long-term drive for him.

Coutinho, Liverpool

If the French club continue to covet the Brazilian and make a play for him ahead of 2017-18, their recruitment frustrations will only be enhanced.

PSG’s first-choice target had been Alexis Sanchez, as was the case last year, but the Chile international wants to reunite with Pep Guardiola at Manchester City.

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They had then focused their efforts on Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, but new sporting director Antero Henrique pulled the plug on a deal he felt was excessive for the 28-year-old.

Mbappe is now the main order of business, but the club are aware they are not likely to add him as an incomer, with only left-back Yuri Berchiche signed thus far.

Kylian Mbappe Monaco

Chasing Coutinho would thus only serve as a further waste of time and energy, but it is understood that James Rodriguez could finally provide PSG with some joy in the window.

The club opened talks with Madrid at the start of July over the Colombian, with a move to the Parc des Princes currently looking favourable.

Unai Emery is hoping to make three more purchases in addition to Berchiche before the season kicks off.

Coutinho will certainly not be one of those.

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Coutinho hailed as Liverpool’s ‘jewel in the crown’ by club legend Johnston

The Brazilian has emerged as a key performer at Anfield, with his attributes on and off the field considered to be crucial to the collective cause

Philippe Coutinho is a “genius” and Liverpool’s “jewel in the crown”, according to club legend Craig Johnston.

The Reds have seen the Brazilian playmaker mature into a talismanic presence at Anfield.

His ability has never been in question, but he is now an on-field leader and a calming presence away from the pitch.

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Johnston considers him to be among the best in the business and a vital part of Jurgen Klopp’s plans, amid ongoing talk of interest from the likes of Barcelona.

The former Reds midfielder, who won five First Division titles and the European Cup during his playing days, told the club’s official website: “Philippe Coutinho is an absolute jewel in the crown.

“Not only does he have the clever bits, the genius, but he has the running mentality – he keeps running and keeps running.

“He’s the best of both worlds. This boy is so nice off the field as well, I met him in America when Brazil were playing.

Philippe Coutinho Liverpool Craig Johnston

“He’s just perfection, there’s nothing wrong with any of his make-up. He’s as good as it gets in a football package [because of] his mentality as well.”

Coutinho contributed 13 goals to Liverpool’s Premier League cause in 2016-17, helping them to a top-four finish.

They are now preparing for a return to Champions League competition, with Johnston seeing plenty of cause for optimism under Klopp.

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He added: “I thought it was a really good season for us.

“[More] goals than last year, fewer goals conceded, more games won, fewer games lost, more points than the season before. 

“Jurgen Klopp took a couple of seasons at Dortmund, they finished fifth and sixth, and then they obviously won the league a couple of times after that.”

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Did they discuss Barcelona? Neymar hangs out with Liverpool star Coutinho again

The Reds forward has been heavily linked with a move to Camp Nou, with his Brazil international colleague regularly talking up a possible transfer

Liverpool forward Philippe Coutinho has been hanging out with Neymar again amid ongoing talk of a possible move to Barcelona.

The pair are international team-mates with Brazil and share a close friendship.

Tite: Coutinho perfect for Barca

With both currently enjoying a well-earned summer break, they have taken the opportunity to catch up – with Coutinho’s Anfield colleague Roberto Firmino tagging along.

It remains to be seen whether they will ever work together at club level, but they clearly enjoy each other’s company.

Neymar has talked up a possible move to Camp Nou for Coutinho in the past.

He told the Daily Mail in March : “A Premier League player that I would like to have in Barcelona is Coutinho.

“I believe Philippe Coutinho is a player that would totally fit in Barcelona.”

Coutinho planning on Liverpool stay

Coutinho has, however, sought to distance himself from the rumours after penning a new contract with Liverpool in January.

He told ESPN Brasil on the Barca links : “A lot of people ask me about that, but I have contract with Liverpool, I’ve just signed a long-term contract, so the speculation stays with you, journalists.”

Coutinho’s efforts in 2016-17 saw him spark the transfer talk, with his most productive season to date delivering 14 goals in all competitions and seven Premier League assists.

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Mane as important as ‘exceptional’ Coutinho for Liverpool, believes former Reds star Fowler

The former Reds striker believes the pair are equally important to Jurgen Klopp’s Premier League hopes next season

Sadio Mane is just as important to the Liverpool attack as the “exceptional” Philippe Coutinho, according to club legend Robbie Fowler.

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Mane and Coutinho shared top spot in Liverpool’s goalscoring charts with 13 Premier League strikes apiece last season, as Jurgen Klopp’s men sealed Champions League qualification by finishing fourth in the final table.

Coutinho has been linked with a move to Barcelona on the back of a stellar season but Fowler – who scored 183 goals for Liverpool across two spells at the club – believes Mane is as crucial to his old club’s hopes of success.

“Liverpool are blessed with some absolutely unbelievable players,” Fowler told Omnisport. “If you look at the likes Coutinho and Mane, both stood out last year.

“Mane was probably the standout player and equally as important as Coutinho. Coutinho has had a wonderful two or three years where he’s been exceptional.

“He scores goals and he is the pinnacle of everything that is good with Liverpool, he’s exciting to watch. We like to think that we want the team to stay exciting and he’s massively important and we need him to be on top of his game as he has been.”

Fowler insists Klopp must keep players such as Mane and Coutinho at Anfield if Liverpool are to win the league title for the first time since the 1989-90 campaign.

“We all know there’s a massive summer coming up,” added Fowler, who also played for Leeds United and Manchester City in the Premier League.

“I think the objective of this season was getting in to the Champions League. Ideally we wanted to win the league but it became apparent we were never going to do that. The important thing is we got to the Champions League.

“I think this club needs and deserves to be playing there. The expectations every season will be very high, we want to do as well as we can.

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“Last year the squad was not as strong as what we’d like as Liverpool supporters but I’m sure there’s going to be a few players added this year.

“It’s important that we keep the players that we’ve got and we add to the squad.”

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