Claims made during this afternoon's press conference held by Barcelona's Director of Professional Sports Albert Soler and Director of Sport Robert Fernández prompted an almost instant reply from Liverpool. The English club stated that it is "absolutely false" that they demanded a 200 million euro fee for Philippe Coutinho during a supposed phone conversation with Barça made late on Thursday, just two hours before the transfer window closed in England. Liverpool emphasize that they have never put a price on the Brazilian and have never been open to negotiate for the player because he is not for sale.
Liverpool remained firm on Coutinho all summer
Liverpool reiterate that their stance on Coutinho has not changed one iota for the duration of the transfer window. Club owners Fenway Sports Group issued a brief, three-line statement on 11 August to clarify their position on the player.
Earlier today, Soler had explained to Barça club members and journalists in Camp Nou's Ricard Maxensch press room that Liverpool had fixed a 200 million euro price tag on Coutinho on deadline day, and went on to explain that Barcelona backed out of the deal because paying such a fee would put “the club's assets at risk”. That was Barcelona's justification to appease unhappy fans, who feel the club should have been aware about and have prevented Neymar's departure and at the very least found a replacement for him.
Barcelona's mystery phone call to Liverpool
Barça's version of events is very different to Liverpool's. The Catalans claim that at 22:00 hours they called Liverpool and received the following message: "200 million starting price and we'll talk..." However no one at Barcelona could certify precisely who made that call or which representative from Liverpool came back with the proposal...