Jurgen Klopp will this week face a big test of his man-management skills when he meets with unhappy Liverpool star Philippe Coutinho.
The player was chased by Barcelona all summer, but a deal failed to materialise after the Reds point blank refused to negotiate with the La Liga giants. However, the lack of a transfer has reportedly left Liverpool with a desperately unhappy player, with his Brazil teammate Neymar giving an insight into the player’s state of mind on Saturday.
And after overcoming a mystery back injury to play and score in Brazil’s win over Ecuador this week, the player is expected to report back for duty at Melwood in the coming days.
And Klopp wants to clear the air with the 25-year-old before reintegrating him back into his squad, according to reports in the Liverpool Echo. If the talks go well, the player could be included in Liverpool’s squad when they return to Premier League action at Manchester City next Saturday.
But Coutinho faces a fight to win his place back in the team and looks most likely, at this stage, to be named on Liverpool’s bench – should Klopp manage to persuade the player that he is best served doing what he does best for the Reds.
Barcelona launched three bids for Coutinho this summer – all of which were rejected – with the club’s director Albert Soler claiming the Anfield club demanded €200m (£185m) to make the deal happen.
“Yesterday, after weeks of offers and talks, Liverpool valued a player we wanted at €200m. We decided against that,” he revealed.