Coutinho can go if own­ers say so, ad­mits Klopp

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS -

WAT­FORD, Eng­land — Jur­gen Klopp said Philippe Coutinho’s Liver­pool fu­ture will be de­ter­mined by the An­field club’s own­ers as Barcelona bids to land the want­away Brazil star.

Coutinho is keen to join Barca and the Reds for­ward sub­mit­ted a trans­fer re­quest 24 hours be­fore Liver­pool opened its Premier League cam­paign with a 3-3 draw at Wat­ford on Satur­day.

The 25-year-old, who missed the trip to Vicarage Road with a back prob­lem, is Barcelona’s top tar­get to re­place Ney­mar fol­low­ing the Brazil­ian su­per­star’s worl­drecord switch to Paris Sain­tGer­main.

Barca had a $116 mil­lion bid for Coutinho re­jected last week, prompt­ing the player’s de­ci­sion to de­mand a move.

But Liver­pool’s US-based own­ers, Fen­way Sports Group, in­sisted in a state­ment last Fri­day that Coutinho will not be al­lowed to leave An­field at any price.

Quizzed about the sit­u­a­tion fol­low­ing the Wat­ford match, Reds boss Klopp ad­mit­ted Coutinho’s fu­ture is out of his hands.

“As a man­ager of a foot­ball club I have bosses, and if bosses de­cide, for ex­am­ple, we sell a player or we don’t sell him, then I have to ac­cept it,” Klopp said.

“If they don’t sell him, then I’m not in­volved any­more.

“I’m re­spon­si­ble for all of my play­ers, not just one, two or three. I can­not say any­thing about it.

“The only thing is I work with the play­ers I have, that is what I’m al­ways do­ing. So how does it change some­thing for me? I didn’t make the de­ci­sion.”

Asked if Coutinho’s trans­fer re­quest could al­ter the club’s stance, Klopp added: “You have to ask the club. I didn’t see the club to­day — those

Ste­fano Okaka had given Wat­ford an eighth-minute lead and Ab­doulaye Doucoure re­stored the home side’s ad­van­tage a minute af­ter Sa­dio Mane’s 27th-minute equal­izer.

Roberto Firmino’s penalty and a de­but goal from Mo­hamed Salah put Liver­pool

Klopp was pleased with Salah’s sec­ond-half dis­play fol­low­ing the Egypt winger’s club-record $44-mil­lion move from Roma.

“He was in­volved in the penalty, and scored a goal,” Klopp said. “In the be­gin­ning ev­ery­one could see he strug­gled a bit against Jose Hole­bas, a re­ally strong man. He was a lit­tle bit too much on the wing, things like this.

“We spoke about it at half­time and his sec­ond half was much bet­ter.

“We need of­fense in be­hind with the speed, not all the time but if we can do it in an­other space then it’s eas­ier for us to play foot­ball there. So, yes, I am fine with his con­tri­bu­tion.”

Klopp was less im­pressed with Liver­pool’s de­fend­ing at set-pieces that led to two of Wat­ford’s goals.

“We had our mo­ments, then we con­ceded an off­side goal,” he said.

“That’s re­ally not fun. Dif­fi­cult to ac­cept. But we know we can do bet­ter and we have to do bet­ter.”

Wat­ford man­ager Marco Silva in­tro­duced new sign­ing An­dre Gray from the bench and said there is more to come from the for­mer Burn­ley for­ward.

“An­dre Gray did only two ses­sions with me and he did not know very well what I wanted from him,” Silva said.

“He is on the bench be­cause we work the last five or six weeks to pre­pare for this match.”

Jur­gen Klopp waves to fans af­ter the Reds’ 3-3 Premier League draw at Wat­ford on Satur­day.

REUTERS

Liver­pool man­ager

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