Philippe Coutinho "loves" Liverpool and has no plans to go on strike to force the club to sell him to Barcelona, according to manager Jurgen Klopp. The Brazil international wants to move to the Nou Camp in the summer but the Reds rejected three bids from the Catalan giants during a transfer saga which ran until the final day of the summer window.
Barcelona finally withdrew from attempts to sign Coutinho after claiming they were quoted €200m (£183.1m, $237.2m) to complete the deal, a suggestion the Merseysiders have since rejected. Reports following the final day of trading in both England and Spain suggested that the 25-year-old still harboured hopes of joining Barca in January and would refuse to play in the Champions League to ensure he was not ineligible for the knock-out stage of the competition in the New Year.
Liverpool will have to wait to benefit from the retention of Coutinho with the ex-Inter Milan midfielder not considered for selection for the Premier League trip to Manchester City on Saturday (9 September). Coutinho played in both of Brazil's World Cup qualifiers against Ecuador and Colombia during the international break but is not considered fit enough to play for his club.
"Relationship with Coutinho is the same," said Klopp, according to the Liverpool Echo. "It was not the most easy time, but that's the transfer window. I really think we handled it really well. There's no secret what happened. All the things in the papers were 100% right.
"Phil came in yesterday, he accepted 100% the situation. I didn't even have to say anything about it. Now we have a wonderful player who wants to play for the club. He loves football and he still loves this club. There is no problem.
"Is he the same Philippe? How can I say after one talk with him? He seems it. We all know about the situation. I said to the boys in the dressing room 'Welcome two new players... Ox [Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain] and Phil!'"
On the decision to leave him out against City, a game which starts of run of seven matches in 22 days, the ex-Borussia Dortmund boss added: "There will never be time to train and we had this conversation, before he went to Brazil he couldn't train for around about 3 weeks. So that means now we have to now prepare him for the rest of the season, which is difficult with our fixtures and our schedule.
"So I decided to leave him out for City. We can use this four/five days for real and proper training. We got the numbers from the Brazilian FA around the intensity of training which was all okay. But he played twice for 15/20 minutes. He could have played 15/20 minutes for us again in the City game, maybe longer, but I think it makes sense. By the way he agreed completely and it was a good conversation."
Long-term injury victim Adam Lallana is also out but goalkeeper Simon Mignolet – who was dropped for the 4-0 win over Arsenal – will return for Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium. Klopp must also decide whether to give deadline day signing Oxlade-Chamberlain his debut after he joined from Arsenal for £40m. The fitness of Roberto Firmino will also be assessed after he returned from South America on a private jet with Coutinho, though he only featured in the 1-1 draw with Colombia.