Liverpool’s Brazilian playmaker Philippe Coutinho has not traveled to Hoffenheim for their UEFA Champions League playoff first leg.
Many believe the end game is near but these comments suggest otherwise.
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Coutinho, 25, emailed in a transfer request last Friday amid interest from Barcelona but Liverpool have turned down a second bid for their star man, said to be in the region of $114 million.
Speaking to the media ahead of Liverpool’s return to the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday, Klopp had the latest update on Coutinho’s situation with the midfielder said to be struggling with a back injury which also kept him out of the 3-3 draw at Watford on Saturday.
“Nothing has changed in the last few days, not on the one side, not on the other side,” Klopp said. “He is not available for us in the moment, that’s the main issue if you want. He cannot play for Liverpool in this moment and, how everybody can imagine, that’s quite a blow for us.
So, there you have it. Nobody is budging.
Coutinho and his camp obviously want the move to Barca to go through but with Liverpool’s Fenway Sports Group (FSG) owners releasing a statement earlier on Friday saying he is not for sale and will be at Anfield at the end of the summer transfer window, a stalemate has arrived.
FSG are now in an awkward position as the man who scored 13 goals and added seven assists last season may not play for the foreseeable future with his injury muddying the situation, while the club know an offer this big, courtesy of the Neymar money Barca received from PSG, may not come again and Coutinho is perhaps aware this is also a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Only time will tell how serious Coutinho’s back injury is, but even if he plays in Liverpool’s UCL playoff second leg next Wednesday he will not be cup-tied and could play for another club, say Barcelona, in European competition this season.
The plot thickens, with no end in sight.