Liverpool have not agreed a £109 million deal with Barcelona for Philippe Coutinho, nor have they held a meeting to negotiate with a delegation from the Catalan club, as they maintain the Brazil international is not for sale this summer.
Coutinho industry-best 6/4 to join Barcelona
Reports in Spain and Brazil suggesting a transfer for the 25-year-old is entering its final stages have been entirely refuted by the Anfield side, who slapped down the only formal offer received for their highest-paid player without hesitation.
Barca have not improved their £72m bid, tabled and rejected 20 days ago, having been told Coutinho is unavailable – at any price – and that they would only be wasting their energy.
Talk of Barca officials Raul Sanllehi, Oscar Grau and Javier Bordas arriving on Merseyside for a meeting to wrap up negotiations with Liverpool on Tuesday has been rubbished, as no forum was held or even proposed.
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The Reds insist they do not need a face-to-face sit down to reiterate that Coutinho is not on the market, a stance they’ve already made abundantly clear.
Claims that the playmaker has prepared poorly in pre-season falls flat in the face of evidence to the contrary.
He was excellent in Liverpool’s 2-1 Asia Cup final victory over Leicester City, supplying Mohamed Salah with a clever lofted pass for the opener before applying his trademark cut-in-and-curl-into-far-corner finish.
In the 3-0 victory against Hertha Berlin, Coutinho again assisted the Egyptian.
He was rested as Liverpool suffered a penalty shootout defeat to Atletico Madrid in the Audi Cup, before a sore back kept him out of their final game of pre-season against Athletic Bilbao.
Coutinho received treatment for the issue at Melwood on Tuesday and there have been no complaints about his professionalism as the coverage around him intensifies.
Liverpool’s two-time Player of the Season, who signed a new five-year deal without a release clause in January, is receptive to a switch to Camp Nou if an exit can be agreed on good terms.
However, with Jurgen Klopp informing Coutinho the Reds will not sanction a move in this window, there is no chance of that.
The Rio-born virtuoso has repeatedly stated his gratitude to Liverpool for giving him the platform to become key for both club and country, and as such, there is no expectation that will he agitate to leave.
Barca, desperate to compensate for the loss of Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain for a world-record fee of £198m, are unlikely to accept defeat easily especially given the media offensive over the past two weeks.
The Liga giants also have designs on recruiting Ousmane Dembele from Borussia Dortmund as they attempt to overturn a debilitating summer so far.