Coutinho to miss Champions League game amidst heavy Barca interest

Liverpool midfielder Philippe Coutinho will be absent from the second leg of Liverpool’s Champions League play-off against Hoffenheim on Wednesday with illness.

While Reds manager Jurgen Klopp said Liverpool’s stance to not sell Coutinho had not changed, he had “no idea” when Coutinho will return.

Barca officials are reportedly contemplating a fourth bid for Coutinho, who made it clear that he would like to leave Anfield when he submitted a transfer request.

Their third offer had been worth a guaranteed €90m (£82.3m), plus a staggering €40m in add-ons, representing an increase of €5m and €25m respectively on their previous bids but it remains to be seen whether Liverpool would seriously entertain any further improvements.

Meanwhile, the Reds hold a 2-1 lead into the match at Anfield, and Hoffenheim have never reached the Champions League group stage, while no German side have won a European tie at Anfield. However, the stakes are heavy and odds could play little role as the winners will progress to the Champions League group stage.

“The main difference between last week and this is everyone knows the quality of Hoffenheim,” Klopp said. “I knew before but a lot of people in England didn’t expect the quality of Hoffenheim. Anfield is a main factor. We all know it is a very special place. The crowd are ready to fight and we are ready to fight too.”

“It is half-time,” Klopp added. “That is how I see it. It is half-time and we are in the break. We spoke after the game last week, yesterday, today and tomorrow about Hoffenheim. We want to learn from our mistakes and what we did over there.”

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