Jurgen Klopp provided an immediate reaction to the news that Liverpool and Barcelona reached an agreement for the sale of Philippe Coutinho on Saturday.
The German manager insisted his club did "everything" in its power to try and convince the attacking midfielder that his future remained on Merseyside, but that the player was "insistent with me, the owners, and even his teammates this was a move he was desperate to make happen."
"It is with great reluctance that we – as a team and club – prepare to say farewell to a good friend, a wonderful person and a fantastic player in Philippe Coutinho," Klopp's statement began.
"It is no secret that Philippe has wanted this move to happen since July, when Barcelona first made their interest known."
The reported cost of the deal is an initial £105 million. The fee would then bloat to £142 million (€160 million) after the following payments:
Related – Poll: Should Liverpool fans be happy with €160M for Coutinho?
"I can tell the Liverpool supporters that we, as a club, have done everything within our means to convince Philippe that remaining part of LFC was as attractive as moving to Spain, but he is 100 per cent certain his future – and that of his family – belongs at Barcelona," Klopp continued. "It is his dream and I am now convinced there is nothing left at our disposal to change his mind.
"Philippe has made a fantastic contribution to this club over his five years of service and as disappointed as we are he doesn't want to extend that, the relationship we have for him means with a heavy heart we wish him well."
Despite Coutinho sitting out Liverpool's matches with a supposed injury since the January transfer window opened, Klopp stressed that the Brazilian's commitment on the pitch, in training, and to the club cannot be questioned. He also said Liverpool's "aggressive progression" is unwavering despite Coutinho's departure, and that with the board he will oversee "continued investment into the playing squad, which will allow more growth and more improvement."
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