Liverpool reject improved Barcelona bid for Coutinho ahead of Palace clash
Liverpool have rejected a third bid from Barcelona for wantaway playmaker Philippe Coutinho.
The offer, reportedly B#113million rising to B#118m with add-ons, was instantly turned down by the Reds, who are adamant the player is not for sale.
Press Association Sport understands 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 on Saturday.
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.”
Crystal Palace boss Frank de Boer has refused to rule out a move for Scotland youngster Oliver Burke.
The former Nottingham Forest winger, 20, has been linked with a move back to England after a year with German side RB Leipzig.
De Boer is still looking to reinforce his squad before the transfer window shuts, and could certainly do with another wideman as Wilfried Zaha faces a spell on the sidelines.
He said: “We only want players who can really contribute to the squad.
“You’re not going to throw money away, it has to be a quality player who can directly fit into the way we are playing and he has to be 100 per cent fit.
“He (Burke) is a very young, promising Scottish player. He’s from Great Britain so it’s always interesting to see those kind of players.
“He’s still very young, maybe, but we are also focusing on other players.”
Zaha suffered a knee injury during the 3-0 defeat by Huddersfield last weekend and was initially expected to be ruled out for a month.
De Boer could not put a time frame on the Ivory Coast international’s return, although he is definitely out of the trip to Liverpool.
“Wilf is not fit,” he said.
“That’s very negative news for us and everyone who loves Crystal Palace. He’s a very important player for our team. We have to deal with it and others have to stand up.
“Wilf’s a very robust player and he’s very keen to be fit again. He played the full 90 minutes despite suffering the injury 30 minutes earlier.
“I don’t know really, it’s very difficult to say how long it’s going to take, we have to wait.”