Jürgen Klopp insists Liverpool are not a "selling club" amidst Barcelona's Philippe Coutinho interest

Jürgen Klopp insists Liverpool are not a "selling club" amidst Barcelona's Philippe Coutinho interest

Jürgen Klopp says Liverpool are not in the business of selling their best players any more with Barcelona showing interest in Philippe Coutinho having had a £72 million bid already turned down.

charlie-malam
Charlie Malam

Jürgen Klopp has warned Barcelona that Liverpool are not a "selling club" amidst their interest in attacking midfielder Philippe Coutinho.

The Reds flat out rejected a £72 million opening bid from the La Liga outfit for the Brazil international, who is committed to the Merseyside outfit until 2022.

Aware of the interest in Coutinho from Barcelona, Liverpool ensured that no release clause was inserted into the 25-year-old's new long-term deal which he signed back in January.

Barcelona are thought to be ramping up their interest in Coutinho as they look to prevent Neymar from making a world-record transfer to Paris Saint-Germain, the winger having a long-standing public desire to play alongside his countryman.

Liverpool have been stung by the losses of key players in recent years, with two of those - Javier Mascherano and Luis Suárez - going to Barcelona since 2010.

They are reluctant to endure yet another rebuilding period after making their first real step forward under Klopp last year by finishing in the top-four for just the second time in eight years.

And as they look to build on that success and establish themselves as a consistent top-four team and eventual title challenger, Klopp is keen to keep all of Liverpool's core players - with Coutinho one of the most integral.

On the playmaker's availability, Klopp declared that Coutinho is not for sale and said: "But that's not [the club's since] since this morning or yesterday, I'm not sure if it was different at any time."

The German added that he is "not surprised" that "any club is interested in [Liverpool's] players" because "a few people obviously see that Liverpool has a few good players." 

"But a very important message, maybe – we are not a selling club," he declared, insisting that Liverpool's team "believe in working together" and "believe in development together."

"Coutinho can become more consistent"

Klopp said that he and his players "believe in using the basis" and added: "We want to work together, we want to make the next step together and for this we need to stay together. That's how it is."

Coutinho scored 13 Premier League goals and laid on seven assists last term in his best season as a Liverpool player so far, with Klopp indicating that he could be pushed into a deeper-lying central midfield role this term.

Last season the Brazilian regularly operated from the left side of a front three and despite excelling alongside compatriot Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mané, seems ideally suited for a central role.

But regardless of what position he takes up in 2017-18, Liverpool manager Klopp is keen to ensure his team are better prepared for when Coutinho is out of form or injured.

He admitted that the No.10 is "a very, very important player" to the team but said that Liverpool "need to react better when he's not on the pitch."

Klopp explained that after a spell out injured last season, Coutinho "came back and was not in the best shape" as he "tried to get his rhythm back."

He hinted that such was the absence of Coutinho's impact, Liverpool rushed him back as he said: "With his quality he has the opportunity under pressure to be on the pitch. Other players, you keep in training. But Phil, when he is able to run properly you want to have him on the pitch again."

The Reds boss called for the club therefore to "be better even in moments like this" as he noted that Coutinho himself "can improve of course in consistency."

"There's no doubt about his qualities when he is in good shape," Klopp said, singling out the midfielder's "movements" and how he is "very smart in both parts of the game" including "really important" aspects such as "offensive tactics and also defensive tactics."

Klopp added that Coutinho is "a really good player" who is "in a good way", calling "the nice thing" that he is "still young so he can improve" even though "he has improved a lot already."

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