Liverpool reject improved Barcelona bid for Coutinho

Liverpool reject improved Barcelona bid for Coutinho

Liverpool have rejected a third bid from Barcelona for wantaway playmaker Philippe Coutinho.

The offer, reportedly £113m rising to £118m with add-ons, was instantly turned down by the Reds, who are adamant the player is not for sale.

It is understood that, privately, Liverpool consider the sums being offered irrelevant as they have no intention of allowing the Brazil international to leave this summer.

Owners Fenway Sports Group said as much last week when they issued a statement explicitly stressing the 25-year-old would be at the club beyond the close of the transfer window.

That prompted Coutinho to hand in a transfer request last Friday, but the club remains resolute.

Regardless of that situation, a back injury means Coutinho will not be facing Crystal Palace this weekend.

Liverpool have already beaten Palace this summer, but manager Jurgen Klopp says that result will have no bearing on this weekend's encounter.

A 2-0 victory over Frank de Boer's side in Hong Kong set the Reds on the way to winning the Premier League Asia Trophy, but both teams have lost key players since then.

Adam Lallana and Coutinho both featured in the game, while Wilfried Zaha played for Palace, but all will miss the first match of the season at Anfield.

"The only thing we know is it's a tough game," said Klopp. "Probably both teams were not overly happy (with their opening weekend).

"We were not really disappointed about our first game, but it was how a first game can be (Liverpool conceded a contentious late equaliser to draw 3-3).

"There are things to improve and it's always like this, but even then we could've won which I think everybody knows.

"For Crystal Palace it was a little bit different (they lost 3-0 to newcomers Huddersfield). They want to strike back I'm sure, but again it's Anfield and we have to show this. I'm really looking forward to Anfield as it was a long time ago that we played there."

Klopp's best friend David Wagner is the manager at Huddersfield and the pair have spoken about last week's match, although Klopp said there was not a great deal of discussion about tactics.

"Yes, I have spoken to him, of course," he said. "(He said) force them to make an own goal after a few minutes!

"Of course we saw the match and we saw the pre-season games of Crystal Palace, not just our match but all we could get.

"The analysis will happen now and even if I could get each tip or advice from him I didn't ask because it will be a different game, of course. That's what we are thinking about."

The match could see a first appearance in the match-day squad of Andrew Robertson, an £8m signing from Hull who has only featured in friendlies so far.

"He is a really good player, but it is how it is with specialist left full-backs, it is difficult - you play or it is possible you are not in the squad," said Klopp, who has picked previously out-of-favour Alberto Moreno at left-back so far and omitted James Milner, who performed the role last season.

"He is on a really good way and everything is fine from my side. It is very early, he came in late and he has to adapt to our style of play.

"Things will change during the season a lot and the players need to know that. The rule is if you train really good, if you work really hard, if you improve, if you develop, everything will be good at the end."

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