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Coutinho sale not close insists Klopp


London (AFP) – Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has rejected Barcelona’s claims that they are close to signing unsettled Brazil forward Philippe Coutinho.

Klopp’s side have snubbed Barcelona’s £90 million ($115 million, 99 million euros) offer for Coutinho and last week issued a defiant statement insisting no further offers would be considered.

Coutinho, who is currently sidelined with a back injury, responded by handing in a transfer request that was turned down by Liverpool’s American owners.

But after Wednesday’s Spanish Super Cup defeat to Real Madrid, Barcelona’s general manager Pep Segura told Catalan television station TV3: “We are close to Coutinho and (Borussia Dortmund’s Ousmane) Dembele.

“We are discussing their deals but do not know when it will be done.” Asked if he expected them to sign, he added: “Yes, we expect it.”

However, Klopp is adamant there have been no more developments and the two clubs are not even in discussions.

“I saw the game (Real-Barcelona) but I forgot to watch the interviews afterwards. Nothing to say from our side,” Klopp told reporters on Thursday.

“I don’t know why other people are saying what they are saying; I don’t even know them — especially this guy, I’ve never even met him.”

Quizzed on whether there had been any recent talks at all, Klopp added: “I am not sure I have to answer this only because we have said what we have to say, or the club said what we have to say.

“No news from me because no-one told me anything different since we spoke last time about this.”

There have been suggestions Coutinho could agitate for a move by effectively going on strike, but while he is still injured that is impossible.

Klopp conceded it is a tricky situation for all parties, but was keen not to be seen criticising the Brazilian’s attitude.

“To be honest I have nothing to say about his attitude because since he has had a back problem he has obviously not been in training,” he said.

“I asked the medical department how he is doing and there are no complaints so that is how it is. There is nothing bad to say about this.”

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