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Coutinho not in Liverpool squad for Hoffenheim match


London (AFP) – Barcelona target Philippe Coutinho has been left out of Liverpool’s squad for their Champions League play-off first-leg match away to Hoffenheim on Tuesday.

The Brazil playmaker, 25, missed Liverpool’s 3-3 draw at Watford on Saturday due to a back problem.

But he submitted a transfer request the day before the game and is reported to have been the subject of an unsuccessful £90 million ($116.7 million, 99 million euros) bid from Barcelona.

Barcelona have targeted Coutinho, as well as Borussia Dortmund’s French winger Ousmane Dembele, after selling Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain in a world-record 222 million euros ($261.7 million) deal.

Liverpool’s American owners Fenway Sports Group issued a statement last Friday saying Coutinho would not be sold at any price.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has said he has no control over the situation.

“As a manager of a football club I have bosses, and if the bosses decide, for example, we sell a player or we don’t sell him, then I have to accept it,” he said after the game at Watford.

“The only thing is I work with the players I have. That is what I’m always doing.”

Liverpool play Hoffenheim at Rhein-Neckar-Arena on Tuesday and welcome the German side to Anfield next Wednesday, with a place in the Champions League group phase at stake.

Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge will also miss the trip to Germany due to a thigh injury.

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