Football

Coutinho hands in transfer request after Pool owners rule out sale

Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho has submitted a transfer request, Press Association Sport understands.

Barcelona had a bid of around £90 million (S$160m) for the Brazil international rejected by the Reds on Wednesday.

And it is understood Coutinho has now declared to Liverpool his desire to leave - news that emerged yesterday only hours after the club's owners had issued a statement stressing their stance that the 25-year-old would not be sold during the current transfer window.

Coutinho is understood to have submitted the transfer request personally via e-mail.

Barca, who sold Neymar to Paris St Germain last week for a world-record 222 million euros (S$355.5m), made their offer on Wednesday having already had a £72m bid for Coutinho turned down last month.

Liverpool boss Juergen Klopp has gone on record a number of times emphasising the player is not for sale, and the club's owners Fenway Sports Group (FSG) backed that up yesterday morning by saying in a statement: "The club's definitive stance is that no offers for Philippe will be considered and he will remain a member of Liverpool Football Club when the summer (transfer) window closes."

That message appeared on Liverpool's official website just before Klopp's appearance at a press conference, during which he said of FSG's statement: "I think if somebody, in this case FSG, is saying something like this, that is the statement.

"I have said what the club's decision is about this and now you can read it - that is maybe the only difference. And that is the way it will go."

Soon after the press conference, reports emerged that Coutinho had handed in a transfer request and, although initially Liverpool insisted that was not the case, it is understood they have now received one from the player.

A statement was also released to Sky Sports News yesterday which was said to be from one of Coutinho's close family members.

The statement said: "Philippe has tried very hard to find an amicable solution to this situation but to no avail.

"He has tremendous love for the club and its fans but, like Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez have pointed out in the past, Liverpool does not let its players leave on amicable terms."

As the transfer saga continues, Coutinho will miss tonight's clash with Watford with a back problem. - PA SPORT

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