Football

Klopp refutes claim by Barca that Coutinho is 'close' to signing

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp has rejected Barcelona's claims that they are close to signing unsettled Brazil forward Philippe Coutinho.

This comes after Barcelona general manager Pep Segura has said the signings of Coutinho and Borussia Dortmund's Ousmane Dembele are "close" after watching his side lose to arch-rivals Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup yesterday morning (Singapore time).

Klopp is adamant there have been no more developments and the two clubs are not even in discussions.

"I saw the game (Real-Barcelona), but I forgot to watch the interviews afterwards. Nothing to say from our side," Klopp told reporters yesterday.

"I don't know why other people are saying what they are saying; I don't even know them - especially this guy, I've never even met him."

However, Segura is confident that deals for both players could be done before the transfer window closes.

"We are close to Coutinho and Dembele," he said on Catalan television station TV3.

"We are discussing their deals, but do not know when it will be done... But we expect they will be done."

Reports in Spain on Wednesday suggested Barca had agreed a fee with Dortmund for French winger Dembele.

Barca are looking to replace Neymar following his shock world-record transfer to Paris Saint-Germain, and their need for reinforcements was apparent as they lost 2-0 to Real, completing a 5-1 aggregate loss to the Spanish and European champions.

After the defeat, Barca defender Gerard Pique admitted he felt "inferior" to Real for the first time.

He said: "In the nine years that I have been here, it is the first time that I feel inferior to Real. We are not in the best moment, either as a team or as a club. We must stay as close as possible and keep moving forwards." - WIRE SERVICES

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