Jürgen Klopp was always going to be asked about Philippe Coutinho at his press conference ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League playoff tie with Hoffenheim. And he was probably never going to offer up any great insight into the awkward and ongoing situation with Liverpool’s star 25-year-old midfielder.
“There’s nothing to say about it,” said the manager as the script played out shortly after Klopp and the travelling squad—minus, amongst a few injured others, Coutinho—landed in Germany today. “I understand that everyone is interested in this, but in this moment I am not thinking about it.
“I was not in my car on the way to the press conference thinking, if they ask this question what can I say? I was only thinking about the session in a few minutes. I will work with the players I have and don’t think about the players I don’t have at the moment. If they are injured, whatever, it’s the same situation for me.”
Given the timing of Coutinho’s back injury, occurring as it did just as Barcelona ramped up their public courtship of the player and shortly before the player handed in a transfer request timed to do maximum damage to the club as it prepared to kick off the season, there have been doubts about the injury.
Legitimate or not, though, it amounts a player unavailable for selection as Liverpool prepare for what could turn out to be a season-defining two-legged playoff tie—one where they know that a loss will mean a massively disappointing drop down into the Europa League for the coming season.
“Nothing has changed,” Klopp added. “Not for one side or the other side. He’s not available for us in this moment and that’s the main issue. We know for few days about it, so we have been able to prepare for this game, like we have been able to prepare without Adam Lallana, without Daniel Sturridge.”