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Dublin: 16 °C Thursday 21 June, 2018

Coutinho to miss Crystal Palace tie with 'back injury', confirms Klopp

Amid speculation surrounding a move to Barca, the Brazilian will be sidelined for the Reds’ next fixture.

JURGEN KLOPP HAS confirmed that Philippe Coutinho will miss Liverpool’s Premier League tie with Crystal Palace on Saturday through injury, amid intense Barcelona transfer interest.

The Brazilian attacker sat out of the Reds’ opening game of the season, a 3-3 draw at Watford, with striker Daniel Sturridge also unavailable. 

And while the latter could play a part in this weekend’s fixture at Anfield, Coutinho will sit the meeting out.

“Daniel, yes I would say he is available. He was involved in the full session yesterday. Coutinho still hasn’t trained yet,” Klopp told reporters on Thursday.

Coutinho handed in a transfer request at Liverpool following interest from Barcelona and is said to be keen to leave the UK for the Liga giants.

Klopp, who has been open about his disappointment with Coutinho, has refused to be drawn on the 25-year-old’s attitude as he continues his attempts to force an exit.

“Nothing to say from my side. We have already said what we have to say. Nothing new,” he added. 

I have nothing to say about his attitude. He has a back injury. Our medical department have no complaints.

Barcelona are expected to return with a bid in excess of £120 million for Coutinho, making him the second-most expensive player of all-time behind Neymar should Liverpool accept.

However, the club have maintained that their star player is not for sale at any price and claim they will reject any further Barca advances.

Barcelona were also criticised for claiming that a deal for Ousmane Dembele is close earlier on Thursday by Borussia Dortmund, who insist the opposite is true.

The Catalans are desperate for attacking reinforcements – and are not short of money to spend – having lost Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain earlier this month for €222m when they bid his release clause.

They were soundly beaten 5-1 over two legs in the Spanish Supercopa this week by Real Madrid, with veteran defender Gerard Pique conceding the club are now “inferior” to their Clásico rivals.

- Omni

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