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'We don't make big comments on these things' - Klopp refuses to be drawn on Coutinho transfer rumours

17:25 GMT+3 08/08/2019
JurgenKloppPhilippeCoutinho - cropped
Liverpool have conducted a relatively quiet transfer window, with the German boss unwilling to make noise about a former charge

Jurgen Klopp has refused to be drawn on speculation that Liverpool have been offered the chance to bring Philippe Coutinho back to Anfield.

Coutinho joined Barcelona from the Reds in a deal worth €160 million ($179m, £148m) midway through the 2017-18 season but has endured a disappointing time at Camp Nou.

The Brazil playmaker has been frequently touted for a potential departure to finance Neymar's mooted return to the La Liga champions.

Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham have been suggested as possible next destinations for Coutinho, and speaking ahead of Friday's season opener against Norwich City, Klopp elected to keep his cards close to his chest.

"To part one of your question, no answer," he said.

"How we deal with things like this in the past gives us the opportunity to say nothing. We don't make big comments on these things."

Liverpool have only added youngsters Sepp van den Berg and Harvey Elliott to a squad which amassed 97 points as Premier League runners-up before going on to become Champions League winners.

Klopp cracked a joke about his club's lack of activity on deadline day, before revealing he is happy with their measured approach in the market.

"It's not really likely [Liverpool will sign anyone] so if you have something to do I think you should go to Everton," he chuckled. "I think they are busier. But we will see.

"Our transfer window was checking options and thinking about it. That's how we do it always. If nothing happens, it was because the decision was not the right option for us.

"We will not make signings just for making signings. That makes no sense."

By contrast, Liverpool spent heavily this time last year to bring in Alisson, Fabinho and Naby Keita.

While the Brazilian duo were influential during an excellent campaign for the Reds, Keita struggled for form and fitness.

However, his manager sees an opportunity for the former RB Leipzig midfielder to kick on this season.

"There were ups and downs last year. He is still building 100 per cent fitness," Klopp said. "Naby looks completely different, this pre-season you can see that he is much more settled in the team.

"[His] body language is different, everything is different. We expect a lot, he expects a lot and rightly so."

Like Keita, Sadio Mane's return to training was delayed by participation in the Africa Cup of Nations.

The Senegal forward sat out last weekend's Community Shield at Wembley, where Liverpool were beaten on penalties by Manchester City after a 1-1 draw, but Klopp confirmed he is in contention to face Norwich along with James Milner, who has recovered from a muscular issue.

"[Mane] only had two weeks off, so he didn't lose a lot. He looks fit. Yesterday was the first session with the team," he added.

"He looks absolutely okay, in good spirits, looking forward to it. Yes, he's an option."