Liverpool boss Klopp says has no problems with want-away Coutinho

AFP
Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp has no problems with Barcelona target Philippe Coutinho and is ready to welcome the Brazilian back into the squad after he recovers from injury.
AFP
AFP

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp smiles during a team training session at their Melwood training complex in Liverpool, northwest England, on August 22, 2017, on the eve of their UEFA Champions League qualification playoff, second leg against Germany's 1899 Hoffenheim.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says Philippe Coutinho would be welcomed back into the squad because the unsettled Brazilian's attempts to force a move to Barcelona have not damaged their relationship.

Coutinho handed in a transfer request earlier this month in a bid to convince Liverpool to sell him to Barcelona, which has had three offers for the forward rejected.

The last of those bids was reported to be worth 118 million pounds (US$151 million), but Liverpool has maintained its stance that the 25-year-old will not be sold in the current transfer window, which shuts at the end of August.

With Barcelona reportedly ready to admit defeat for the moment, Coutinho could be forced into the awkward position of staying at Anfield in the short-term at least.

A back injury and a bout of sickness are keeping Coutinho out of action at present, but Klopp stressed that when he is fit enough to return, there will be no attempt to send him into exile as punishment.

"Of course, everything is okay between me and him. Absolutely. 100 per cent," Klopp said on Tuesday.

Coutinho is yet to feature this term due to a back injury picked up in preseason and will once again be unavailable when the Reds face Hoffenheim in the second leg of their UEFA Champions League qualifier at Anfield.

"He can't start tomorrow because on top of that he's now ill," Klopp said.

"It will take time because he has not trained for a long time. I've no idea at this moment (when he will return), we would have to check when he is back."

Regarding suggestions a deadline imposed by Barcelona to complete a transfer had now elapsed, Klopp replied: "I never give any comment to whatever's written or said but it's 100 per cent clear that nothing's changed."

Despite Coutinho's absence, Liverpool is still expected to seal its place in the UCL group stage on Wednesday.

Holding a 2-1 lead from the first leg in Germany, Klopp has called on Liverpool fans to generate a hostile atmosphere to see his team through.

"The first game was good enough to get the result, the second game needs to be better," he admitted.

"Anfield is a main factor, we all know it. It's a very special place.

"Nothing happens by itself, we have to perform, deliver. We all know the atmosphere can and will help you.

"I would be concerned if people would think it's a weak side coming from Hoffenheim. We are ready to fight."

After the UCL game, Liverpool hosts Arsenal in the English Premier League on Sunday.


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