Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has ruled out bringing Philippe Coutinho back to Anfield this summer, saying it is not the year for a “big-money signing”.
Coutinho, 27, has endured a difficult 18 months in Barcelona since joining from Liverpool for £146m in January 2018, and he faces an uncertain future at the Nou Camp with the Spanish champions said to be offering Paris Saint-Germain £90m plus players in a bid to bring Neymar back to the club.
Kia Joorabchian, Coutinho’s agent, told Sky Sports News in July that Barcelona have been sending mixed signals regarding their plans for the Brazil international, but ruled out a move to any of Liverpool’s direct rivals.
Now it appears Coutinho is unlikely to return to the Premier League, at least this summer, because Liverpool are tightening the purse strings after a big summer of spending 12 months ago.
“In general, Phil Coutinho helps each team in the world, still – 100 per cent,” Klopp told ESPN FC.
“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.”
Speaking after Liverpool ended their US pre-season tour with a 2-2 draw against Sporting Lisbon at the Yankee Stadium, Klopp gave an update on Nathaniel Clyne after he suffered a cruciate ligament injury.
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“Clyney himself thought it was a knock at the time,” said Klopp. “Nothing else. It looked a normal situation.
“Of all the injuries you can get, ACL is the one you don’t want. But if you are going to get an ACL, he has the best one to be honest.
“His is isolated, it’s not 100% ruptured, but he will need surgery and it will take time. I don’t think it will have a big influence on his career, but it’s not a good moment for the player or for us as a team.
“You can prepare as much as you want but there are always problems. This is one of them.
Asked if it will have an influence on Liverpool’s transfer dealings, Klopp added: “None whatsoever.”