Liverpool are not going to sell Philippe Coutinho. That's the message that was conveyed to the player himself when he met with the club, shortly before an angry Coutinho handed in a transfer request. It's also what Barcelona have been told on each of the three occasions that the Anfield outfit have received offers from Los Azulgranas, and rejected them inside 45 minutes. A fourth approach is expected from Barça, but it is to be met with the same response: Coutinho is not for sale - and don't come back with a fifth bid.
Liverpool have at no point sat down to negotiate with Barcelona; there hasn't been a single meeting with the LaLiga club. They have never named a price for the player, or asked for more money. At no stage have they been open to the possibility of a Coutinho exit. And it's not a question of pride. Or money.
Because, above all else, the Premier League club don't need to generate further income. They have 160 million euros to spend as it is - and, in any case, they know that they would be quoted fees higher than the market value of any possible replacements if they were to sell Coutinho. The standing of their American owners, Fenway Sports Group, took a major hit after parting with major stars such as Xabi Alonso, Fernando Torres, Javier Mascherano and Luis Suárez. FSG's chief shareholders, John Henry and Mike Gordon, are mindful of how those departures weakened the team, and how much it has cost to reconstruct it.
And sanctioning Coutinho's sale would in all likelihood work against Liverpool when stars such as Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mané receive offers to leave (and the club anticipate that happening next summer). The Reds want to avoid a situation of "You let him leave, now you have to let us leave too". What's more, this is not the time to be letting a key figure go: not in a season in which the aim is to mount a title challenge in such a competitive league - or at the very least retain a top-four spot - and have a good Champions League campaign.
Klopp man-management task ahead
Jürgen Klopp is aware that Coutinho won't be the same for some weeks, just as occurred with Suárez in the wake of his failed attempt to secure a move to Arsenal. However, it's also not been forgotten that the Uruguayan ended up enjoying his best season at the club that year.
Coutinho's representatives will continue to put the pressure on through the press; guided by self-serving sources, the Catalan media will carry on selling the notion that a transfer is possible and that Barça are "optimistic". Indeed, it is still being said at the Camp Nou that they'll end up getting their man, but a few are now beginning to suspect that Liverpool's mind is made up: Coutinho is staying in England.