Liverpool will turn down any improved offer from Barcelona for Philippe Coutinho as the club attempt to see off interest from the Catalan giants in the Brazil playmaker. Ernesto Valverde's side are desperate to secure a replacement to cover for the expected departure of Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain but are being met with stern resistance by the Merseysiders.
The Reds have already rejected an offer of £77m and reports in Spain had claimed they were demanding £133.7m [€150m,$175.7m] in order for a deal to be completed. But the Liverpool Echo now understand no offer will be considered by the Anfield club, all-but putting an end to the Catalans' hopes of acquiring the 25-year-old.
Coutinho seemingly appears content with life at Liverpool with no reports of discontent coming out of the camp, who are currently in Germany for the conclusion to their pre-season tour. The ex-Inter Milan star has trained with the team this week and looks set to be a central figure in Jurgen Klopp's squad this season.
Having signed a new five-year contract in January, Liverpool are in a position of strength in negotiations over Coutinho and means they are at liberty to reject any offer even if it would break the world transfer record, as purported earlier this week. Nevertheless, Klopp has held talks with Coutinho with the pair agreeing that it is in both parties best interests that he remains in England.
Among the major reasons for Liverpool being unwilling to do business with Barcelona - who must now turn their attention to alternative targets in an effort to fill the void expected to be left by Neymar - is the lack of time available to sign a replacement. The summer transfer window has less than five weeks to run and with many clubs finding it tough to sign their preferred targets, offloading Coutinho would not be a risk worth taking.
But ex-striker Dean Saunders says that for anything above £100m, Coutinho is far from irreplaceable. "£100m? sell him, [Coutinho]" Saunders told talkSPORT. "For me, he's replaceable. You could sign Isco for £30m. He's not going to get a game at Real Madrid.
"Juan Mata, Sigurdsson - there are players you could sign to replace Coutinho. "(Luis) Suarez was irreplaceable. Certain players are irreplaceable. I like Coutinho. The last game I watched he was brilliant but £100million? Once they knock the door as a player he's gone."