Liverpool are in a commanding position over Barcelona target Philippe Coutinho's future but "time will tell" if the Brazil international does move to the Camp Nou this summer, according to Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers.
Coutinho, 25, has designs on joining Ernesto Valverde's side this summer but Jurgen Klopp's men have no interest in parting with their coveted attacker so close to the start of the new Premier League campaign. Barcelona have made two bids of £72m (€79.7m, $93.4m) and £90m for Coutinho in recent weeks, but both have been swiftly rejected by the Reds.
Barcelona may yet return with a third bid north of £100m, but Rodgers, who was Liverpool manager when Coutinho arrived at Anfield from Inter Milan in January 2013, knows that the playmaker enjoys life on Merseyside and believes Liverpool are very much in control of this particular transfer saga.
"[Philippe] Coutinho is world class, there's no doubt about it," Rodgers told Sky Sports. "But the power and the position is with Liverpool. He recently signed a new contract, he is always going to have others club that will want him but Liverpool don't have to sell if they don't want to, so the power is very much with them.
Liverpool's a fantastic club and I know he really enjoys it there, like I say he's got great supporters and a great manager. I'm sure he'll be very happy there, but time will tell."
There were suggestions that Barcelona were preparing to announce the signing of Coutinho on Friday (11 August) but Liverpool's rejection of their second offer has made that unlikely.
Barcelona are also trying to complete a deal for Ousmane Dembele, but Borussia Dortmund are unwilling to part with the esteemed France international and have set an asking price of €150m in order to ward off interest from the Blaugrana, who have sent officials to Germany as they attempt to conclude a deal for the former Rennes wonderkid.
If Barcelona do meet the price tag set by Dortmund, Rennes would be in line to receive £25m due to a sell-on clause that was locked into the deal that took Dembele to the Westfalenstadion.
Coutinho did not feature in the Reds' last pre-season friendly against Athletic Bilbao on Saturday due to a sore back and remains a doubt for the trip to Watford. The versatile attacker has not returned to training since suffering the knock and is currently receiving treatment at Liverpool's training complex. Klopp will be hoping to have his prized playmaker available as soon as possible after losing Adam Lallana for a significant portion of the season last week.