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Did you spot Liverpool’s message to Barcelona during the Champions League group draw?

The La Liga giants have been desperately pursuing Philippe Coutinho but the Reds have held firm in their stance

Scheduling the Champions League draw while the transfer window is still open was a move of dramatic genius from UEFA.

With representatives from all of Europe’s biggest clubs in attendance (not you, Arsenal) there were some awkward encounters during the ceremony in Monaco.


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Firstly there was Chelsea and Atletico Madrid’s mutual blanking of each other.

Great planning to be fair…

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Great planning to be fair…

The clubs are in disagreement over the actions of wantaway forward Diego Costa, who has resorted to disobeying his current employers’ orders in a bid to force through a move back to the Spanish capital as soon as possible.

Pleasingly, the two teams were drawn in the same group though Atletico’s transfer ban means we won’t see Costa lining up against his old team-mates – shame.

We all wanted to see Costa vs Luiz

PA:Press Association
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We all wanted to see Costa vs Luiz

Now we move on the Philippe Coutinho situation.

Everyone knows the score, Barcelona want him, he wants Barcelona, but Liverpool won’t hear a word of it.

The Anfield club should be commended for their resolute stance of the matter as Jurgen Klopp and club chiefs have repeatedly broadcast a ‘not for sale’ view on negotiations.

Barcelona were hoping to use the Champions League draw as platform to persuade Liverpool chiefs to part with their prize asset – in exchange for over £120million of course.

The La Liga giants sent big dog Josep Maria Bartomeu to Monaco to negotiate personally with Liverpool.

Philippe Coutinho is reportedly set to go public in expressing his anger at being unable to join Barca

AP:Associated Press
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Coutinho is the subject of a tug-o-war between Liverpool and Barca

However, Liverpool saw the ambush coming and sent their nemesis a curve ball in the form of club secretary Danny Stanway and club legend Ian Rush.

Neither Stanway nor Rush are in any position to negotiate transfers and so Bartomeu was effectively left talking to a wall.

Rush trying to hide his joy at Liverpool’s relatively easy group was also superb

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Rush trying to hide his joy at Liverpool’s relatively easy group was also superb

Most clubs sent top representatives to the draw and while Stanway and Rush are respected figures in the game, the subtle message of defiance from Liverpool was there to see – not for sale, no discussions.

Good on them, we say.

Ousmane Dembele will cost Barcelona £138million

AP:Associated Press
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Moving on then…

Bartomeu did however manage to speak with Borussia Doprtmund chiefs over the proposed Ousmane Dembele transfer.

The Bundesliga club are said to be holding out for a fee in excess of £130million for their 20-year-old Frenchman and with just days of the transfer window remaining, Barca are prepared to pay to land Neymar’s replacement.

Have you signed up to play Dream Team Weekender?

  • Pick 7 players – no limit to the number of players you can choose from one club
  • No transfer budget – any player is available to pick
  • Only Saturday and Sunday fixtures
  • Sign up to play Dream Team Weekender now