Liverpool insist Coutinho not for sale at any price

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If you believe this strong statement from Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, Philippe Coutinho will not join Barcelona.

For any price.

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The Reds reportedly turned down a $116 million bid from Barca for Coutinho, 25, in the past 24 hours and on the eve of the new Premier League season Klopp has sent out a defiant message to the Spanish giants.

Speaking to Sky Germany ahead of Liverpool’s clash with Watford on Saturday (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com), Klopp had the following to say about Barcelona’s pursuit of Coutinho.

“Liverpool is not a club that has to sell players. That is set in stone. So what they pay in the end doesn’t matter. From a financial standpoint, there is no price limit to let him go. No price at which we are ready to give in,” Klopp said. “Our goal is to have the best possible team. So we want to keep our guys and add new ones. That is our plan.”

Can Liverpool follow through with that plan?

To date Coutinho (who is an injury doubt with a back problem for the opening weekend game) hasn’t handed in a transfer request but with officials from Barcelona said to be on Merseyside to try and force through a move, a bid of over $140 million would surely be too good to turn down.

Coutinho is said to want to move to Barca but is being respectful of Liverpool, a club he signed a new five-year deal with in January as he became their highest earner.

The Brazilian playmaker is seen as a replacement for Neymar initially and then more likely for Andres Iniesta, and even though the Catalan club have been interested in Liverpool’s star man for some time they’ve been sparked into action after Neymar’s incredible world-record move to Paris Saint-Germain.

Back to Liverpool’s stance, Klopp is right that they aren’t a selling club and they probably don’t need the money from Barcelona, but does any Premier League club really need to sell its star player right now? With the riches flooding into the league, look around. Swansea City don’t want to sell Gylfi Sigurdsson, Southampton doesn’t want to sell Virgil Van Dijk and Leicester City aren’t particularly keen on getting rid of Riyad Mahrez. All three would sell if ridiculous offers came in and two of those three players have publicly declared that they want to leave.

Coutinho hasn’t done that but if he really wants this move to Barcelona to play alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez in a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, the next step is for him to hand in a transfer request. If that happens then, just like the Suarez situation in 2014, can Liverpool really stand in his way?

With $140 million they could buy two world-class players to replace Coutinho and there is an argument that he can be easily replaced. With Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Adam Lallana, Divock Origi, Roberto Firmino and Daniel Sturridge, they are stacked in attack.

Yes, Coutinho is a wonderful player and his 13 goals and seven assists last season were a big reason finished in the top four, but every player has his price. Barca have already offered way over what Coutinho is worth and if they come calling with a third huge offer, Liverpool should take it. Klopp would lose a key man in his rebuild of Liverpool, but Coutinho isn’t irreplaceable.

Fueled by “Neymar cash” Barcelona needs a new playmaker and Liverpool will be the big winners, even if Coutinho leaves.