Klopp welcomes Coutinho back into Liverpool squad after failed transfer

Albert Soler, Barcelona's director of institutional relations, said the club's under-fire board would not put the future of the institution at risk by bending to excessive demands.
Klopp welcomes Coutinho back into Liverpool squad after failed transfer

Brazil playmaker Philippe Coutinho jokes with mascot "Canarinho" during a training session in Manaus, Brazil, on September 2, 2017, ahead of the team's 2018 World Cup qualifier against Colombia on September 5, 2017.

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp believes playmaker Philippe Coutinho is still a key part of the squad and can perform well, the German boss said following the 25-year-old’s failed bid to move to Barcelona.

Coutinho and Borussia Dortmund winger Ousmane Dembele were Barcelona’s key transfer targets after forward Neymar joined Paris Saint-Germain. While the Spanish club signed Dembele, Liverpool rejected all bids for Coutinho, saying he was not for sale.

On Saturday, Liverpool sources dismissed claims made by Barcelona director Albert Soler, who said the English Premier League side was demanding 200 million euros (US$237.14 million) for Coutinho.

“We have our situation and Dortmund (with Dembele) has another,” Klopp is quoted as saying by the Liverpool Echo.

“Don’t believe everything in the press or that there are offers here and there and that the minute after the offer has been entered, it should already be over.

“We have exactly the situation we wanted and no other.”

Brazil international Coutinho will return to Anfield after his nation’s 2018 World Cup qualifier against Colombia tomorrow.

“Dortmund decided the player (Dembele) would leave them, so I cannot compare the two situations,” Klopp said. “We still have a really good player in the squad who can play.”

Coutinho is yet to feature for Liverpool this campaign due to a back injury but is likely to return during the trip to Manchester City in the EPL on September 9.

Barcelona ended the window making a slight profit on transfers after receiving the world-record 222 million euros from Neymar’s move to PSG, AFP reported.

Despite splashing over 190 million on five signings, most notably 105 million euros on 20-year-old French winger Dembele, Soler claimed Barcelona wouldn’t be drawn into an arms race with the cash-rich EPL and Qatar-backed PSG.

Risk the heritage

"We didn't want to put at risk the heritage of the club. This is a club of 150,000 members and has to be managed with coherence and responsibility," Soler said.

"We won't get involved in the game of a market that has lost its way.

"This board won't put the club at risk. UEFA and the European Clubs Association have to reflect and make a decision."

UEFA announced on Friday that PSG will be investigated for a potential breach of Financial Fair Play rules after adding Kylian Mbappe to the capture of Neymar from Monaco in a deal that could rise to 180 million euros.

Soler dismissed claims that Barcelona's status as one of the world's leading clubs is being threatened by the its inability or unwillingness to match the lavish spending of other clubs.

"We haven't lost any international status for having common sense and not putting the financial viability of the club at risk."

Barcelona also insists that five-time world player of the year Lionel Messi will soon sign a new contract, tying him to the club until 2021.

The club announced the agreement of the deal with Messi, 30, on July 5, but the Argentine has yet to formally put pen to paper.

"I want to send a message of calm to the members. There is no problem," added Soler over the delay.

"When the club announced an agreement it is validated by both parties.

"All that is lacking is the protocol."

Special Reports