Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp laughed at suggestions that Barcelona had been quoted a price to buy Philippe Coutinho in the January transfer window.
A move for Coutinho, 25, was the subject of intense speculation and at least two reported offers from Barcelona in the summer window, but Liverpool held their ground and kept the Brazilian playmaker at Anfield to start the 2017-18 campaign.
But with the opening of the winter window right around the corner, questions about Coutinho’s future are surfacing once again along with some reports in Spain suggesting that a €145 million price tag was attached to the player.
And an amused Klopp said to papers in the UK: “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?”
The German manager was also non-committal when asked about transfer comings and goings for other players with the club when the window opens in January.
“I cannot give an answer for that now. A lot of things could happen,” Klopp said.
“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.”
One player that could be set for a temporary exit from Anfield is Serbia international Marko Grujic. The 20-year-old arrived from Red Star Belgrade in January of 2016, but is not currently involved in Liverpool’s first-team setup and whose agent has suggested he might benefit from a loan.
“He’s right, Marko deserves to play more now,” Klopp said about the agent’s comments. “If it’s not possible here then we need to think about it [a loan].
“I like the boy a lot. He has made progress like hell. His heading is outstanding but he doesn’t make the squad a lot which isn’t the best thing for him for sure.
“We will think about it. We always want to help the players. First of all as a club we have to think about ourselves.
“I really see Marko in the future playing for Liverpool. But he’s not playing in the moment so we have to see what we can do to make it more likely that he comes through in the near future.”
Adam Lallana, who made his first appearance of the season last weekend against Chelsea, is a doubt for the Reds’ Saturday match against Brighton after feeling “more than he should” in his substitute appearance.
The England international is recovering from a preseason thigh injury and Klopp said: “Adam felt the muscle more than he should. We just need to be careful. It’s nothing, really.
“After a really long and serious injury, it’s a very busy time coming up and we want him in the best shape with as much resistance against the different things that can happen as possible.
“That’s why we left him out of the squad at Stoke. It’s not a real setback. It’s unlikely he will be involved at Brighton but we’ll see.”