Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp said the club could do nothing more to convince Philippe Coutinho to stay at Anfield after the Brazil playmaker sealed his dream move to Barcelona on Saturday.
“Philippe was insistent with me, the owners and even his teammates this was a move he was desperate to make happen,” Klopp said.
“I can tell the Liverpool supporters that we, as a club, have done everything within our means to convince Philippe that remaining part of LFC was as attractive as moving to Spain, but he is 100 percent certain his future — and that of his family — belongs at Barcelona. It is his dream and I am now convinced there is nothing left at our disposal to change his mind.”
Klopp said Coutinho “wanted this move to happen since July,” when Barcelona first made its interest known.
Liverpool rejected three bids for Coutinho from Barcelona in August, but accepted a new offer early in the January transfer window.
Barcelona did not reveal the cost of the deal, but a person familiar with the details told The Associated Press that the transfer is worth 160 million euros ($192 million). The person spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment publicly about the deal.
“We managed to keep the player here beyond the summer window,” Klopp said, “hoping that we would be able to persuade him to stay and be part of what we are looking to do.”
“But,” Klopp added, “as hard as it is sometimes to accept, it is part of life and part of football — individuals have their own dreams and their own goals and objectives in life.”
Klopp said Liverpool had never been in a better position to absorb the loss of a key player like Coutinho.
“I have so much belief in the talent we have here already,” he said, “and even more faith, together with our owners, that we will make continued investment into the playing squad, which will allow more growth and more improvement.”