Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona: Jurgen Klopp Premier League dream doomed if star goes | Football | Sport - World Big News

Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona: Jurgen Klopp Premier League dream doomed if star goes | Football | Sport

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But Liverpool cannot sell now for two reasons: they are so adamant they won’t, and any hopes of winning the title this season will vanish if they do.

Liverpool have been crystal clear since the first whispers of Barcelona interest in the Brazil ace that he was not for sale. They reiterated it after two bids, of £72m and £90.3m, were rejected instantly.

Manager Jurgen Klopp has never wavered from the message throughout the summer. They even put it in black and white yesterday with a statement from the club’s owners: Not for sale, at any price.

Their faces would be redder than the Liverpool shirt that Coutinho no longer wants to wear if he now leaves.

But more importantly, they cannot sell because they would simply be so much weaker without him with little chance of replacing him with the quality needed at this stage of the transfer window.

The Reds have already lost Adam Lallana for up to three months with a thigh injury and have failed to secure Red Bull Leipzig midfielder Naby Keita despite two substantial bids for the Guinea international.

Coutinho’s main role for Liverpool now is in the midfield three supporting the attack where Lallana and Keita would have been operating.

In the forward positions, where he is also used, the only addition this summer is £36.9m signing Mohamed Salah.

The Egyptian is Liverpool’s only major signing of the summer with £10m full-back Andrew Robertson brought in as cover from Hull and Dominic Solanke signed from Chelsea as one of the future.

Liverpool would go into the campaign significantly weaker than they were last season should they perform a U-turn and sell Coutinho to Barcelona.

Some would say they would have £100m or more to splash out on replacements, but the money has been there all summer for Klopp to spend.

Klopp reiterated yesterday he has been interested only in signing players who are in his “Plan A”. They would be looking for plan B, C and D if their South American star heads to Spain.

Klopp has been in the same position at Borussia Dortmund where he had to let star players go such as Mario Gotze, Shinji Kagawa and Robert Lewandowski. But this is different.

This is with less than three weeks of the transfer window left. He has not had months to prepare for it as he suggested when asked about clubs getting their way over deals at yesterday’s press conference.

“If we ask early enough, we try to do it,” he said yesterday morning before Coutinho submitted his transfer request by email. “If you ask early enough, you can either switch the plan of whatever.

“But you cannot come up, close to the start of the season with things like this. It’s like I said: the club is bigger than anybody. That is the most important thing. It’s about doing it in the right moment.

“Maybe everybody has a price – in the right moment. In the wrong moment? No price.”

When Arsenal tried to sign Luis Suarez in 2013, not even public interviews begging to leave were enough. But when Barcelona came calling a year later the price was right.

In between, the swashbuckling attacker almost led Liverpool to the Premier League title and scored 31 goals to make his previous tantrums a distant memory.

Liverpool need another year out of Coutinho, even if the start of it is held up by an injury which keeps him out of today’s opener at Watford and most likely the first leg of their Champions League play-off against Hoffenheim next Tuesday. And if he helps them in a title challenge then the bad feelings will also be forgotten about.