0352 GMT December 14, 2017
Barcelona has had two bids turned down for the 25-year-old, the second in the region of £90 million on Wednesday, the Guardian reported.
After Jürgen Klopp insisted that Coutinho was not for sale, that stance was reiterated in a statement by the club’s owners Fenway Sports Group.
However, it is understood from a source close to the player that a transfer request was submitted on Friday, with Coutinho said to be unhappy with the way Liverpool has handled the negotiations. He had so far refused to agitate for a move despite having informed the club of his desire to join Barca, instead opting to wait for the situation to be resolved.
Yet with Liverpool steadfastly refusing to soften its position in the face of a third offer, Coutinho decided to attempt to take matters into his own hands.
Earlier, the statement from FSG was adamant the player signed from Internazionale in 2013 would still be at Anfield at the end of the month.
“We wish to offer clarity as regards our position on a possible transfer of Philippe Coutinho,” it read.
“The club’s definitive stance is that no offers for Philippe will be considered and he will remain a member of Liverpool Football Club when the summer [transfer] window closes.”
Klopp, speaking at a prematch press conference ahead of Liverpool’s Premier League opener at Watford today, again reiterated his stance but remained coy about his private talks with the Brazilian.
“I think if somebody, in this case FSG, is saying something like this it is the statement,” said the German. “I think I have said it already a few times, but maybe that’s not 100 percent clear.
“I don’t think I ever told you anything about what I spoke to players [about]. I turned 50 in the summer, so maybe I forget things like this. I have nothing to say about this.”
Barca has plenty of money to spend, having sold Coutinho’s compatriot Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain for a world-record £198 million last week. Coutinho signed a new five-year deal with the Merseyside club in January that did not include a buy-out clause. The 25-year-old was The Reds’ leading scorer with 14 goals in all competitions last term, a season that saw Klopp’s men secure a fourth-place finish in the Premier League.
He will not be available to face Watford this weekend, however, and is a doubt for the first leg of the Champions League qualifying playoff against Hoffenheim on Tuesday, after failing to recover from a back injury.
Asked if Coutinho would be involved in today’s fixture, Klopp said, “No, he has back problems. He was not in training since last Friday. No he is not available, he is also a doubt for Tuesday, unfortunately.”
When asked if his job was now to keep Coutinho happy, Klopp added, “I can’t keep players happy. That’s how life is. It’s not about this, Phil is not available for us, that’s the biggest issue that he’s not available to play.”