Philippe Coutinho has transfer request rejected by Liverpool as he looks to force Barcelona move

Philippe Coutinho has had a transfer request rejected by Liverpool as he looks to force through a move to Barcelona.

Sky Sports reported on Friday lunch-time that the Brazilian had officially lodged a desire to leave the club but such reports were swiftly quashed by the Liverpool Echo among others.

But several hours later it emerged Coutinho has indeed requested to leave after e-mailing the club - in particular sporting director Michael Edwards - his intentions, with the Merseyside outfit's unwavering response that the player will not be allowed to leave.

Liverpool owners Fenway Sports Group had only released a statement earlier in morning on the club website that Coutinho would "definitively" remain on Merseyside this summer.

Barcelona saw an improved second bid of £90.4 million instantly rejected for the 25-year-old earlier this week, having already had a £72 million offer turned down this summer.

In the statement on the club's official website, the Boston-based owners said that they wished "to offer clarity" on their position "on a possible transfer of Philippe Coutinho."

They explained: "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 window closes."

Liverpool have maintained that Coutinho is not for sale at any price this summer and remain adamant that the request changes nothing as per their stance - having rejected the request.

The midfielder, Liverpool's most prized asset, is currently undergoing treatment on a back injury which rules him out of contention for the Reds' Premier League opener at Watford on Saturday.

Coutinho - who hasn't trained for a week - is also a major doubt for Tuesday's trip to Germany where Liverpool face Hoffenheim in the first-leg of their Champions League play-off round qualifier.

Liverpool insist Coutinho will not be allowed to leave this summer, no matter the fee

The Anfield outfit have long maintained their stance that Coutinho is not available, manager Jürgen Klopp having recently insisted that "there is no price limit to let him go" and "no price at which we are ready to give in."

The German added: "Our goal is to have the best possible team. So we want to keep our guys and add new ones. That is our plan."

Speaking at Melwood on the eve of Liverpool's trip to Vicarage Road, Klopp said on FSG's statement: "If FSG have said something like this, then that's the statement. I've said about it a few times, but maybe it's not been 100 per-cent clear. Now you can read it. That's the way it will go, there's nothing else to say about it. The bigger issue is that he's not available to play [against Watford]."

The player's future seemingly hinges on his desire to force a move to Barcelona, with the saga likely to become more convoluted if Coutinho refuses to train or play - as he could if he wishes to push through a deal.

A higher bid upwards of £100 million, with Liverpool's highest ever fee the £75 million they received from the Catalan club for Luis Suárez in 2014, could also tempt Liverpool into selling despite publicly declaring otherwise.

The 25-year-old enjoyed his best ever season for Liverpool last season, scoring 13 goals and laying on seven assists in 31 Premier League games last term.

Coutinho only signed a new five-year contract with the club in January, a deal that did not include a release clause, saying afterwards that he did so "to stay here for a few more years because it’s a great honour for me."

But it remains to be seen whether Coutinho will still be a Liverpool player come the end of August, with plenty more twists and turns expected in an already convoluted saga.

Barcelona have also been heavily linked with Borussia Dortmund's Ousmane Dembélé, Klopp's former club rejecting a €100 million offer for the 20-year-old winger as they hold out for €150 million.

Ernesto Valverde's side saw Coutinho's compatriot Neymar leave in a £198 million move to Paris Saint-Germain earlier this month, but it is thought that they would not be able to afford to sign both of Dembélé and Coutinho.