'No chance' that Liverpool could have prevented Philippe Coutinho joining Barcelona says Jürgen Klopp

Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp has revealed that the Reds had "no chance" of keeping Philippe Coutinho against his will, such was the strength of his desire to move to Catalonia.

'No chance' that Liverpool could have prevented Philippe Coutinho joining Barcelona says Jürgen Klopp
(Picture: Getty Images - David Ramos)

Liverpool had "no chance" of keeping Philippe Coutinho and denying him his dream move to Barcelona, according to Jürgen Klopp.

The Brazilian ended a five-year spell with the Reds to join the Catalan club in a £142 million deal last weekend with Klopp giving the final say to allow Coutinho to leave.

But he insists he did so because keeping him would have had a more detrimental effect despite his sublime form because of how strong Coutinho's desire to join the La Liga side was.

Klopp declared that Liverpool did their all to keep the 25-year-old, but insisted that forcing him to stay against his will would not have been worth it. 

 

Klopp: Coutinho would not have been 100 per-cent for Reds after January

"The final decision, if I would have said 'no way', the club would have said: 'okay, let’s try'," explained Klopp. "It was clear there was no chance. It’s not that there was an open question or something and in the end 50 per-cent pro, 50 per-cent con and then I had to make the decision. In the end, it was quite easy."

The German insisted it was not that he held talks with the player in which Coutinho informed of his desire to leave, but revealed: "It was just clear after we spoke that it would not work out. We knew it [wouldn't], when the club tried everything."

Klopp said that he held "a lot of talks about different things" with Coutinho, but insisted it was "clear" that the playmaker had made his decision and that the club had to "accept it." 

He added: "If the club said after the first call [from Barcelona said] 'good idea, we wanted to call you actually because we don't want to have him' then it would be different. But we tried everything [to keep Coutinho]. You have to accept it."

Critics have suggested Liverpool might have been able to keep Coutinho and force him to play despite denying him a move, given his desire to represent Brazil at the World Cup this summer.

But Klopp insisted that the No.10's attitude showed that was not possible.

He told reporters: "On an average day, after an average training week, we still thought: 'Come on, he can do something special'. He didn't always [produce] to be honest because he's a human being."

The Reds boss hailed how Coutinho "developed" and felt that "one of the best parts of his career at Liverpool" was "the last half year" in which he was "consistent at a really high level."

"But it was not possible to do it again," Klopp said. "You feel it, you know it, you hear it. You can read it out of reaction. You cannot use him if he's not 100 per-cent."

He insisted that while Coutinho is "a world-class player", he is not "that international class" or "Premier League class" if he's not at 100 per-cent.

 

"Liverpool have no money problems and will have full Coutinho fee to spend"

Klopp also dismissed the element of risk in allowing Coutinho to leave mid-way through the campaign, insisting: "My job is always a risk. But I could not decide differently."

He explained: "If anybody would say afterwards it’s because he didn’t fight enough, they will never know 100 per-cent all the information. For me, there was no different decision possible."

The manager noted that Coutinho "will be such a good player for Barcelona" but also said that as he was for Liverpool "in a few games" such as the 4-1 defeat at Tottenham in which they "gave him the ball and he was not always in the best shape", he will also have an off day in Spain.

Klopp admitted that the team adopted "kind of a solution" in giving the ball to Coutinho and expecting him to produce a moment of quality and create a chance, stating that it can make Liverpool "more unpredictable" without that.

"We don't have to think about unpredictability immediately against Manchester City, we have to think about work, but in general there is always opportunity in a situation like this," said an optimistic Klopp.

With Virgil van Dijk signing for £75 million just days earlier, cynics said that Coutinho's sale helped partly fund Liverpool's world-record spend on the Dutch defender.

But Klopp suggested otherwise and that rather he will have all the proceeds of the Brazil international's exit available to him.

He declared that since his arrival in October 2015, he "can have all the monies from transfers and more if needed" and that so far they have "got all the players" they have targeted.

"If someone wanted to have other players then it's my fault," he admitted, insisting he is not the kind of manager to approach the club's owners and complain about his transfer kitty.

Klopp continued: "The owners are completely on my side. It is not that they say: 'You've got this [amount] but on the other hand we've done this and this and so you cannot spend'. Everything is fine. We have no money issues at this club."

While he acknowledged that it is "not too cool" that Coutinho has left, he says it is "not a real problem at all" because they will "bring in other players that's for sure", adding: "If we do it in this [January] window? I don't know."

 

All about how Liverpool react to Coutinho's exit says German boss

Klopp admitted that they cannot convince "all players" to stay but that they must ensure to show them that "there is no need to leave from the sports side."

He noted that there is "always a team that is doing a little bit better" or have "a few more points or more money" but insisted that Liverpool "really have a lot to offer."

"Maybe we do need to make it more clear in the future but look at what we have," Klopp said, highlighting Mohamed Salah's signing and joking that they didn't "go to Rome and kidnap him" but that the winger "wanted to come" to the club.

"Sadio Mané. Okay, you'd say not all the teams wanted him but they want him now," Klopp said. "We have these players. Gini Wijnaldum. Not everyone thought 'fantastic idea', but a lot of other clubs wanted him and we have him."

The Liverpool boss vowed that the club will "carry on like this" and said that "London is not a bad city" in the case of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who left Arsenal to move to Anfield "for the football."

Klopp said that the club are working hard to ensure they keep their best players and affirmed: "You can see it as a start with those three or four guys or you think it's like always, the best players will always leave. That's not how it will be. The club is trying everything to do things differently."

While Coutinho was arguably Liverpool's most talented individual despite Salah's form and the importance of the likes of Mané and Roberto Firmino, Klopp believes they can cope without the creative midfielder.

"We don’t play 'hero football'. It's not one hero and the rest try to help them a little bit," he declared. "We already did put responsibility on different shoulders [other than Coutinho's]."

He reflected that Liverpool's game "worked with Phil really well, sometimes not" and that without him it worked "really well, sometimes not" but said they "don't have to think about that" now he has gone.

"It's all about how we react as a club," Klopp challenged, insisting that it is "not right" if everyone is "talking only about one player who isn't there anymore" - adding: "In the end, if you lose five or six players then obviously it can be a little different if you cannot replace them. But that won't happen."