Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has quashed fears his relationship with Philippe Coutinho has been harmed by the Brazilian’s desire to join Barcelona.
Coutinho, who is currently sidelined by injury and illness, handed in a transfer request earlier this month when Barca’s interest emerged but the Reds look set to hang on to the 25-year-old midfielder having rebuffed three bids for him.
He must therefore accept his immediate future lies at Anfield, while Klopp insists the whole saga has not caused any rift between player and manager.
“Of course, everything is okay between me and him,” Klopp said. “Absolutely, 100 per cent.”
Regarding suggestions a deadline imposed by Barcelona to complete a deal had now elapsed, Klopp replied: “I never give any comment to whatever’s written or said but it’s 100 per cent clear that nothing’s changed.”
A back injury suffered in pre-season has so far prevented Coutinho from featuring this season and Klopp revealed the Brazilian now has a bout of sickness.
He will therefore be absent when the Reds face Hoffenheim in the second leg of their Champions League play-off on Wednesday, and Klopp is unsure exactly when Liverpool fans will see Coutinho back on the pitch.
“He can’t start because on top of that (injury) he’s now ill,” the German added.
“It will take time because he has not trained for a long time. I’ve no idea at this moment (when he will return), we would have to check when he is back.”