Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has put an end to speculation over a possible move for Barcelona’s Philippe Coutinho, insisting “it’s not our year for that”.
According to Mundo Deportivo, Coutinho is open to the prospect of returning to Anfield, having expressed a desire to leave Barcelona during the summer window.
The Brazilian left the Reds to join up with the Blaugrana in January 2018 for a whopping £146 million – as per Sky Sports – but has since been unable to live up to expectations at Camp Nou.
There has been some suggestion that Barca are happy to offload the 27-year-old after capturing Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann and Ajax midfielder Frenkie de Jong, with a number of top clubs thought to be interested in his services.
Klopp has ruled out a Liverpool transfer bid for Coutinho, however, confessing that the club is not in a position to meet his asking price ahead of the 2019-20 season.
The German boss told ESPN: “In general, Phil Coutinho helps each team in the world, still — 100%.
“It’s not about that. I like Phil, I think he’s a fantastic footballer and all that stuff, but it would be a big, big, big, big, big, big, big, big-money signing and it’s not our year for that.
“It’s just not possible. As I said, having him would make each team better — us included — but I really hope that he finds his luck at Barcelona.
“Or maybe he found it there. We have contact, but not that close contact that I know exactly how he is doing, but the rest is only newspaper talk and stuff like that.
“If everything was true what newspapers write about me — wow! If it’s similar to what they write about me, I would say he’s completely happy at Barcelona and wants to sign a new six-year contract or whatever.”
ESPN states that Liverpool have not considered a potential loan deal for Coutinho either, with the club fully focused on retaining its current crop of stars rather than adding new recruits.
Klopp’s only signing of the summer so far has been Dutch youngster Sepp van den Berg, while the likes of Daniel Sturridge, Danny Ings and Alberto Moreno have all left the club.
Coutinho is currently valued at around £81 million – as per Transfermarkt – which is significantly lower than what he was worth this time last year, but Liverpool will not be welcoming a superstar back to Anfield before the start of the 2019-20 campaign.