London - Liverpoool
manager Jurgen Klopp has ruled out the possibility of Philippe Coutinho
leaving in the January transfer window, amid rumours of an impending
transfer bid from Barcelona.
The 24-year-old is on the verge of making a return to first-team
action, having spent the last seven weeks on the sidelines with ankle
Despite being on the treatment table for a lengthy spell, the
transfer rumours swirling around the Brazilian have shown no signs of
When asked if the Merseysiders had received any offers for their star
midfielder in January, Klopp told reporters: "We never had any ideas or
plans or any talks about him leaving, because he is our player.
"There are no other ideas, nothing has changed."
He continued: "It would be nice if big clubs thought like this and
forgot about a player completely because he's been injured for five or
"But big clubs don't think this way unfortunately.
"It was not a big injury so there was no question of him not being the same player afterwards."
Liverpool face Southampton in the first leg of their EFL Cup
semi-final clash on Wednesday evening, and Klopp says he will assess
Coutinho closer to kick-off before deciding his starting XI. However,
the German tactician feels Sunday's highly-anticipated clash with
Manchester United would be a more realistic target for the play-maker.
"The time [between games] is not long enough for him to be 100% for Manchester United but he could play," Klopp explained.
"We have spoken before about there being a difference between being
fit and being match-fit but of course it's Phil, so we want to try
everything we can to bring him as close as possible to his 100%.
"In this moment I would say it makes sense for him to be involved
against Southampton, in the squad, and we will see what happens there -
whether we have to use him or not or whatever. If not, we have another
three days to prepare him for United.
"A few minutes for him does make sense. We will see if he's ready
tomorrow and on Wednesday morning. Then we will make the decision."