Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp may have no fresh injury concerns going in to the second leg of the Reds Champions League play-off with Hoffenheim, but the German manager will still be without talismanic play-maker Philippe Coutinho with the Brazilian apparently battling both a back problem and illness as rumours of a fourth bid from Barcelona — being touted at an insane £138mil — doing the rounds.
“He can’t [start training tomorrow] because on top [of the injury] he is now ill. One other player [was also ill] but with him it was not that serious so he was back in training today,” explained Klopp, speaking to the press ahead of the meeting with the Bundesliga side. “If [Coutinho] would start [training] tomorrow it would take time because he has no training for a long time,” added the Liverpool manager. “[I have] no idea in this moment. We would have to check in the moment when he is back.”
The Reds, for their part, have thus far held true on their promise not to sell Coutinho having rejected three massive bids from the Catalonians for his services. Although nothing has been confirmed, it’s been heavily suggested that the 25-year old isn’t injured at all and is actually refusing to play for the club after his transfer request was rejected by the Anfield hierarchy.
That, of course, could change if Barca come through with a new offer that gives the club more money up front. Their previous bid, which would have seen Liverpool take in £82.3mil with add-ons bringing his total fee into the region of £119mil, was promptly rejected but it’s believed that stance could change should they be given an immediate cash influx. Looking to keep his best players and maybe draft in a few more, Klopp has repeatedly insisted that the Brazilian will not be sold to anyone at any price. At the end of the day, Coutinho remains a very important player for the Anfield outfit and when he’s ready to return, it sounds like he’ll be welcomed back almost immediately.
“Why do you ask if everything is ok between me and him? That was the question right?” said Klopp when asked if his relationship with the Brazilian is still intact after he tried to force his way out of the club. “Of course. Indeed,” said the German manager, confirming that they’re still on the level with each other. “Absolutely. 100 per cent.”