New Year’s Eve had brought anger and frustration for Reds fans as Barcelona’s long and rather public pursuit of Coutinho took a fresh twist.
Sportswear giants Nike, who manufacture Barca’s kits, advertised club shirts with Coutinho’s name on the back , despite the fact that he remains very much a Liverpool player for the time being. Coutinho was the subject of three failed bids by Barcelona in the summer and has been linked with a move to Camp Nou in January.
A listing, which has since been deleted, on the Nike website read:
“Philippe Coutinho is ready to light up Camp Nou.”
The Brazilian is sponsored by Nike and wears their boots.
Reports on Monday suggested Liverpool would demand an “astronomical” fee to sell Coutinho in light of Nike’s error, with suggestions that legal action could even be considered.
As yet there has been no official response from the club, or from Nike, but Klopp was asked about the situation at his post-match press conference at Turf Moor.
“I heard about it,” he grinned. “I can’t tell you about it though because for different reasons I couldn’t be less interested in anything in the world.
“But somebody told me and I thought ‘wow! Top story!’”
If Coutinho’s future remains a concern – he missed the Burnley game with a sore thigh, and could be absent when Everton visit Anfield in the FA Cup on Friday – then there is better news in the £75m signing of Virgil van Dijk , who is eligible to make his Reds debut in that fixture if selected.
Discussing that, Klopp said: “I don’t know (if he will play).
“We made a few tests. No rush. He is on fire, really wants to play but we have to make sure he can perform. Centre half is a position which depends on the others in the pitch. That means you have to tune it so you work together.
“Pre-season is for that usually. After Friday, we have a little bit more time. It is a long-time project. It is not important when his first game is but how many good games he plays.”