Liverpool: The first six fixtures of the new Premier League season
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Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has reportedly turned down the opportunity to re-sign former Reds midfielder Philippe Coutinho from Barcelona.
The Spanish club are desperate to sell their deadwood because they need to drastically reduce their wage bill before they can register any new signings.
Their disastrous predicament also means that they are currently unable to offer legendary forward Lionel Messi fresh terms after his contract expired last week.
Messi could now move on after a stunning 17-year career in the Barca first team, and a reunion with former boss Pep Guardiola at Liverpool’s Premier League rivals Manchester City has been widely rumoured.
Coutinho is one of the players who could depart Barca after failing to make an impact since signing from Liverpool in January 2018.
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The Brazilian made only 12 La Liga appearances last season and his reputation as one of the world’s best attacking midfielders has taken a hit, despite costing Ronald Koeman’s side £142million three years ago.
Coutinho’s huge transfer fee allowed Liverpool to build a Champions League and Premier League-winning squad, while the now-29-year-old was sent on loan to Bayern Munich just a year after joining Barca.
Klopp will strengthen his squad this summer and wants to sign a midfielder to replace Gini Wijnaldum, who has joined Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer.
The German head coach will face pressure from sections of the Liverpool fanbase to seal a fairytale return for Coutinho, who scored 54 goals in 201 appearances for the Merseyside club during his five-year spell.
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However, Spanish outlet Sport claim that Klopp has turned down the opportunity to sign him.
Coutinho still has three years remaining on his Barca contract but will surely leave this summer.
Leicester City, managed by former Reds head coach Brendan Rodgers, have been registered with an interest and may now have a stronger chance of signing Coutinho.
The former Inter Milan star made a huge improvement under Rodgers’ coaching, making 112 of his Liverpool appearances under the Northern Irishman.
Meanwhile, Klopp wants to add depth to his ranks after overseeing a failed defence of the club’s 2019-20 Premier League title success.
An injury crisis swept through their squad last term, prematurely ending the seasons of several key players.
Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Joel Matip, Jordan Henderson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain all spent lengthy spells on the sidelines.
Defender Ibrahima Konate has been signed in a £36m deal from RB Leipzig.
Liverpool activated the release clause inserted into the 22-year-old Frenchman’s contract to take him to Anfield.
They are widely reported to hold an interest in Brighton midfielder Yves Bissouma as a Wijnaldum replacement.
Former Arsenal academy striker Donyell Malen, who scored 27 goals for PSV in the Dutch Eredivisie last season, is also a target.
Liverpool are believed to be willing to move on Divock Origi, Xherdan Shaqiri and Takumi Minamino in a bid to raise funds for potential transfers.
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