Jurgen Klopp has responded to claims that Barcelona have been set a price to sign Liverpool superstar Philippe Coutinho during the January transfer window.
Brazilian Coutinho emerged as Barca’s top target last summer but the La Liga giants failed with numerous bids to secure his signature, despite the player handing in a transfer request.
The 25-year-old has impressed in Liverpool’s fearsome front-line this season but reports in Spain suggested this week that Barca were closing in on a January deal.
It was claimed Liverpool, adamant Coutinho would not leave in the summer, had changed their stance and would accept an offer of around £127million to part ways.
But Klopp laughed off the speculation, saying: ‘Named a price? Interesting. There is absolutely nothing to say about this. Of course Phil is still essential for us.
‘Should we stop thinking about him in the moment just because there are more stories about him in the newspapers in Spain?’
Klopp also refused to get drawn into discussing which players could be set to leave Anfield in January, but said he would be open to new arrivals at the club.
‘I cannot give an answer for that now. A lot of things could happen,’ the German boss added.
‘Maybe one or two players will tell me they want to make a move and go somewhere else. If that happens then we would have to consider that and make our decisions.
‘As long as we have the opportunity to do something [sign someone] then we should think about it.’
Despite making Coutinho their priority target in the summer, Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde says it is ‘damaging’ to continue to talk about players who the club are being linked with.
Asked about his interest in the Brazil international on Friday, Valverde said: ‘The problem is we’ve been speaking about players for a long time who are not part of the club. There was a lot of talk during the close season.
‘Right now, we can’t sign anybody, so let’s concentrate on what we’ve got now. It’s damaging to us to discuss these things when the market is closed. When we get to the market, I probably won’t want to discuss these things, either!
‘At the moment, Coutinho is not one of my players. I want to worry about my players and the game we have [against Celta Vigo on Saturday].’