• Dnipro president blocked move after buy-out clause was met
• 'A lot of players weren't available,' said Brendan Rodgers
Liverpool's transfer frustrations intensified on deadline day when they missed out on the £16m signing of the Ukraine international forward Yevhen Konoplyanka.
The 24-year-old was in line to become Brendan Rodgers' only addition of the January window following days of complex negotiations between Anfield officials and the player's club, Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk. Konoplyanka had agreed the terms of his move to the Premier League and members of Liverpool's medical team travelled to Ukraine to help facilitate the deadline day move.
But, despite Liverpool meeting the buy-out clause in Konoplyanka's contract, Dnipro's president, Ihor Kolomoyskyi, refused to sanction the player's release and Rodgers was left empty-handed in his attempts to bolster his team's Champions League pursuit. Liverpool continued to pursue the deal up to the 11pm deadline but Kolomoyskyi, who had been in negotiations with the Anfield club's managing director, Ian Ayre, since Wednesday, would not sign the necessary paperwork.
Kolomoyskyi's stance had prompted Rodgers to concede the deal was "complicated" just hours before the window closed. Oliver Cabrera, owner of Konoplyanka's representatives, OML Sports and Marketing, also said: "We have a very good relationship with the president Kolomoyskyi and he doesn't want to sell the player. Yehven and his father respect that, so a move is very unlikely."
Liverpool were the only club to hold direct discussions with Dnipro over Konoplyanka, who rose to prominence at Euro 2012 and also scored in a stand-out performance against England at Wembley in the 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign. Tottenham Hotspur had made an inquiry but did not follow up their interest.
The Liverpool manager claimed on Friday that he "would be happy to go with what we've got" if a deal for the Ukrainian was not completed but Konoplyanka is the latest in a series of transfer disappointments for the club. Liverpool were unable to land Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Diego Costa and Willian last summer and were gazumped by Chelsea in this transfer window over the Basel winger Mohamed Salah.
Rodgers had wanted only signings who could improve the first team this month, having stated the squad had enough "support players", with Liverpool currently on target for Champions League qualification.
Speaking after the collapse of the Konoplyanka deal, Rodgers said: "It certainly hasn't been because of a lack of work by the football club. There are lots of people who have worked tirelessly to identify and find the right types of players. A lot of those players haven't been able to become available for us.
"Of course, as a manager you would like to have strengthened – but I'm very optimistic with the group of players I still have available here. If we can keep those players fit, and maximise the availability for the rest of the season, we can have a great chance to have a really good finish."