Jürgen Klopp: Liverpool's "aggressive" development will continue in spite of Philippe Coutinho loss

Jürgen Klopp: Liverpool's "aggressive" development will continue in spite of Philippe Coutinho loss

Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp is confident in the club's ability to continue to improve despite agreeing the immediate sale of Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona in a deal worth up to a potential £142 million.

Charlie Malam

Jürgen Klopp says Liverpool did their all to try and convince Philippe Coutinho to stay at the club but says his departure will not affect their "aggressive progression."

The Reds agreed a British transfer record deal worth £142 million with Barcelona for the sale of Coutinho on Saturday despite spending the summer insisting the attacking midfielder would not be sold.

But Liverpool have sanctioned the sale of the Brazil international, bringing to an end his five-year spell at Anfield, after failing to convince the player that he would be best served remaining on Merseyside.

And deeming the La Liga giants offer as acceptable, despite it consisting of £37 million in add-ons, Klopp agreed to allow Coutinho his long-craved switch to Barcelona this month.

It comes as a blow to the club's feel-good factor, with debutant and January addition Virgil van Dijk having scored on his debut in their Merseyside derby win Everton on Friday night, extending their unbeaten run to 17 matches.

Yet Klopp believes that Coutinho's exit will not damage their long-term evolution under his management.


Club tried to keep midfielder, declares Klopp

Klopp told the club's official website that it is with "great reluctance" that Liverpool, "as a team and club" wish farewell to a "a fantastic player in Philippe Coutinho."

He acknowledged: "It is no secret that Philippe has wanted this move to happen since July, when Barcelona first made their interest known. Philippe was insistent with me, the owners and even his teammates this was a move he was desperate to make happen."

He added that they were hopeful of being able to "persuade him to stay and be part of what we are looking to do" and stating that they have "done everything within our means to convince him that remaining part of Liverpool was as attractive as moving to Spain."

But Klopp admitted that Coutinho is "100 per-cent certain" that his future is at Barcelona because "it is his dream", admitting: "I am now convinced there is nothing left at our disposal to change his mind."

Yet the German hailed the 25-year-old's "fantastic contribution" to Liverpool over his five-year spell, scoring 54 goals in 202 appearances - the last of which came against Leicester City on December 30.

"As disappointed as we are that he doesn't want to extend that, the relationship we have for him means with a heavy heart we wish him well," Klopp continued.

He declared that Coutinho was "dedicated and committed" on the pitch and behind the scenes in his six months of 2017-18 at Liverpool and that his "level of professionalism reflects positively on him."


Klopp confident Liverpool can move on after Coutinho

The Reds boss called the fans' disappointment "totally understandable" because it is normal "when you have to say goodbye to someone special."

But he declared that "it is part of life and part of football" that "individuals have their own dreams and their own goals", insisting: "Players will come and players will go. That is football."

Yet Klopp believes Liverpool are "big enough and strong enough" to move forward with their "aggressive progression on the pitch" regardless of the loss of "an important player."

He vowed: "We have never been in a better position in recent times, as a club, to react in the right way. We will use our size and strength to absorb moments like this and still move forward."

Klopp said that he has been at Liverpool "long enough" to know the club's history and to be aware that "key players have left before", adding: "You cannot transfer the heart and soul of Liverpool Football Club."

The manager explained that he has "so much belief in the talent" at the club, insisting he has "even more faith" alongside the club's owners FSG that they will make "continued investment into the playing squad" to allow "more growth and more improvement."

He added: "So as we bid farewell to Philippe, we continue on our path of progress and development as we work towards our common goal of bringing trophies back to Anfield."