Jürgen Klopp explained the £142m sale of Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona in his pre-Manchester City press conference on Friday, insisting that the club were left with ‘no other option’.
Some fans were left baffled by the clubs decision to allow their star player to leave the club midway through the season, but Klopp hinted that Coutinho was no longer ready to contribute for Liverpool and was determined to land his dream move to Barcelona.
NEW: Video: Jürgen Klopp's pre-Manchester City press conference.https://t.co/fy0zDTKxmk
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Coutinho himself made clear that Barcelona is the only team he would have left Liverpool for. Klopp says the club did absolutely everything they could to try and convince him to stay at the club.
Klopp: “There was no other option. If someone is angry or disappointed it could be the manager but I’m not. I know we tried absolutely everything to convince Phil to stay here.
“This was his dream. He would only leave Liverpool for one club. The club was fighting until the last second to keep Phil. It was 100% clear there was no chance I could use him in second half of the season.”
Attentions now turn to a potential replacement for Coutinho, but Klopp insists that the Reds will not panic in the transfer market.
“If we do something, we don’t need to ‘replace’ him. We need to step up. I don’t want to sound disrespectful because he was five years here but we only have to carry on.
“Replacement? First of all we have to replace him internally. We go with open eyes in this window but we won’t do crazy things.”
Rumours suggest that Liverpool would like to bring forward to the signing of RB Leipzig midfielder Naby Keita, who is due to arrive this summer.
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Klopp was coy on this subject when asked in his presser on Friday:
“He is a player of Leipzig and I know he will be a player here in the summer.”
James Pearce of the Liverpool Echo reported on Thursday evening that striker Daniel Sturridge has asked to leave the club, with the Reds demanding £30m for the former Chelsea forward. Klopp was just as coy when asked about this.
“I have nothing to say about that. We will see.”
Klopp was asked an interesting question about coping with the departure of top class players, with the German having to deal with several high-profile exits during his time at Dortmund.
He was very keen to stress that fans should look to the future rather than dwell on the past and believes Liverpool are well equipped to deal with Coutinho’s move.
“We lost plenty of players at Dortmund. You always have to react. It’s about the atmosphere in the club.
“If on Sunday there’s a free-kick 18 yards out and people think ‘Ah, Phil’ that would be not too cool. Use the past, don’t suffer from it.
“Phil, what a character, but he still wanted to leave. We have to make the best of it and it is easy because we still have fantastic players here.”