We round up the latest Liverpool transfer news and rumours on a busy Friday that saw Philippe Coutinho‘s desire to leave become front-page news.
There are just three weeks to go until the summer window slams shut, and the Reds are preparing for their Premier League opener away to Watford on Saturday.
The trip to Vicarage Road is threatening to become a sideshow to matters off the field, however, as Liverpool’s summer looks set to follow a downward spiral.
Here’s the latest from the rumour mill on a frustrating Friday for supporters.
Coutinho Request Transfer, Liverpool Hold Firm
Friday’s transfer focus was dominated by one man and one man only: Philippe Coutinho.
Ahead of Jurgen Klopp‘s 11am press conference to preview the Reds’ clash with Watford, the club released a statement of Fenway Sports Group’s “definitive stance” over the player’s future at 10am.
Shortly after Klopp had left the media room at Melwood, however, Sky Sports claimed that Coutinho had handed in a transfer request.
This was swiftly dismissed by reporters, but later on Friday it was revealed the Brazilian had emailed Liverpool sporting director Michael Edwards to request a transfer at 1pm.
Liverpool are set to remain steadfast in their no-sale stance, having already rejected £72 million and £90.4 million bids from Barcelona, but speculation is not likely to go away.
The rollercoaster looks set to continue, while Klopp bids to keep his side’s attention on Watford and then, on Tuesday night, Hoffenheim.
Southampton Take Similar Van Dijk Stance
It is with miserable irony that the same Liverpool supporters bemoaning Coutinho’s transfer request on Friday will have been lauding Virgil van Dijk‘s four days earlier.
And while the Reds look to hold on to Coutinho over the next three weeks, Southampton will be doing the same to their captain, key centre-back and Liverpool’s leading defensive target.
Speaking at his press conference on Friday morning, Saints manager Mauricio Pellegrino said he was hoping Van Dijk would stay at St Mary’s.
“Hopefully he can change his point of view because he is an important player and we need him focused on the club,” he told reporters.
“The club was clear from the beginning with the player. We cannot control every situation. Virgil is part of the club, he has a contract, now we are waiting.”
Meanwhile, the Southern Daily Echo report that Southampton are yet to receive a bid for Van Dijk from any club.
Sakho Still on De Boer’s Palace Radar
Beyond the marquee names, Liverpool still have a fair amount of business to conduct elsewhere before August 31.
Perhaps most importantly, the Reds are looking to seal a big-money deal to part ways with out-of-favour centre-back Mamadou Sakho, who they value at £30 million.
Crystal Palace seem the Frenchman’s most likely suitors at this stage, and manager Frank de Boer has confirmed his enduring interest.
“He made a major impact [on loan] last season, everybody knows what he did,” he told reporters.
“He was not only good on the pitch but also in the dressing room, I heard, so if you can get that kind of quality player, it always benefits your team.”
Juventus ‘Set Sunday Deadline’ For Can Move
Monday saw Juventus CEO Giuseppe Marotta reportedly call off the Serie A side’s pursuit of Liverpool midfielder Emre Can.
But that has not quelled speculation over the 23-year-old’s future, with Can yet to agree an extension to a contract that currently expires in 2018.
And according to Italian publication Corriere dello Sport, Juventus are still interested in signing Can, but have set a strict deadline over a possible deal.
They claim that the Turin outfit will pull out of negotiations if there is no breakthrough by Sunday.
Fingers crossed that the weekend brings at least a measure of positive transfer news for Liverpool, then.
Liverpool ‘Interested’ in Genoa Midfielder Laxalt
Finally, tenuous reports from Italy also suggest Liverpool are interested in signing Genoa midfielder Diego Laxalt.
Genoese publication Il Secolo XIX name the Reds along with AS Roma as a possible future club for the 24-year-old, who can play on the left wing or as an attacking midfielder.
However, it is noted that Laxalt’s contract does not expire until 2020, and Genoa would not sell before they secured a replacement.