Liverpool have moved to reject claims from Barcelona that they had placed a €200 million valuation on wantaway midfielder Philippe Coutinho.
Coutinho was the subject of three failed bids from the Spanish side this summer, with the Reds issuing a statement on their “definitive stance” in August.
Liverpool were adamant that, despite the Brazilian issuing a transfer request on the eve of their season opener away to Watford, he would not be sold.
Their resolve was tested by a series of offers from the Liga outfit, while a renewed approach was expected as the Spanish transfer window came to a close on Friday night.
However, this never transpired, and Coutinho was named in Jurgen Klopp‘s 25-man squad for the Premier League campaign.
Barcelona director Albert Soler claimed on Saturday that “Liverpool put a price on the player that we wanted, a price of €200 million, and we decided we wouldn’t do it.”
But according to the Telegraph, the Reds are “furious” at Soler’s suggestion, saying it is “‘absolutely false’ and ‘not true in any way, shape or form’.”
This is in line with Liverpool’s stance throughout the summer transfer window, with Fenway Sports Group holding firm as their No. 10 pushed for the exit.
In fact, they are reported to have rejected another approach from Barcelona on Friday.
Coutinho, who returned from an alleged back injury to play and score in Brazil’s 2-0 win over Ecuador on Thursday, is now expected to be reintegrated by Jurgen Klopp at Melwood.
It may prove a difficult task for the German, with Coutinho’s compatriot Neymar revealing the 25-year-old is “filled with great sadness.”
But Liverpool were right to reject all advances for their star player, refusing to bow down to the demands of Coutinho and his agent, Kia Joorabchian.
The prospect of Coutinho lining up behind the in-form forward line of Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah will be hugely interesting to Klopp.
Coutinho was trialled in a deeper midfield role in last season’s 4-0 win away to West Ham and shone, with his creativity key to the Reds’ progress moving forward.
Barcelona have severely undermined their own reputation this summer, and it has fittingly stung them in their attempts to bolster Ernesto Valverde’s squad.