Liverpool legend John Barnes does not believe that club owners Fenway Sports Group (FSG) will fear a backlash from supporters in the event that they do eventually sell Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona, suggesting that the final decision on the Brazilian's future rests solely with Jurgen Klopp.
Widespread reports on Thursday morning (10 August) suggested that the Reds had swiftly rebuffed a second bid for their influential playmaker believed to be worth approximately €100m (£90.5m, $117.5m) including an initial €85m payment and a further €15m in add-ons. An opening £72m offer was turned down last month.
Former Liverpool stalwart Jamie Carragher previously claimed that there would be a "riot" against both the club and FSG if Coutinho was sold following a difficult window in which high-profile pursuits of the likes of Virgil van Dijk and Naby Keita have proved frustratingly fruitless.
However, Barnes believes that the final decision over the 25-year-old will be supported - provided it is Klopp who ultimately has the final say.
"No, because of the Jurgen Klopp factor," BetBonusCode ambassador Barnes told IBTimes UK when asked if FSG might fear a backlash. "If Coutinho goes, it will be because Klopp has accepted the figure.
"If Klopp wants him to stay, I'm sure he'll stay. What of course Klopp also has to be very conscious of is the fact that does he want a player who may be unhappy? It'll be Jurgen's decision. As long as it's Jurgen's decision, the fans will back him."
Liverpool have thus far remained adamant that Coutinho is simply not for sale, with Klopp insisting that there is "no price at which we are ready to give in". The 25-year-old only put pen to paper on a new long-term contract in January and the fact that such a deal contained no release clause appears to have put his current employers in a position of total control.
Klopp has also been eager to reiterate that Liverpool are not a "selling club". But is it not the case that practically every club in Europe can be considered as just that when it comes to interest from two prestigious giants such as Barcelona and Real Madrid?
"Well Neymar left Barcelona, so Barcelona are a selling club as well," Barnes insisted. "This is a feature of modern football. It's not a question of it being negative because you are a selling club, it's just a feature of football where players leave big clubs now.
"It's not negative. It may be detrimental, but it's not a slight on those clubs to say they are not big clubs. This is just modern football and I think fans and clubs have to get used to that idea. Fans have to now stop thinking that it's negative or it means that you're not a progressive club or an ambitious club or a huge club if you sell players.
"The biggest club in the world you could argue in the last 10 years, Barcelona, has just sold one of their star players to what you could argue is a lesser club [Paris Saint-Germain]. That's modern football."