Liverpool deny Barry reports

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The Independent Football

Liverpool claimed today they have not made a "final" offer to Aston Villa for midfielder Gareth Barry.

Reports that a final offer of £15million has been made, with £2million to come depending on Liverpool's league position next season, have been denied by club sources.

Officially a club spokesman said: "We have no further information" on the Barry situation.

But the club maintain they are still engaged in ongoing discussions over the potential deal.

Aston Villa, whose players return to pre-season training tomorrow, also declined to comment.

It is also being claimed from Anfield sources that whatever future bid Liverpool put in to try to end the summer-long saga, it is unlikely to include "extra payment" clauses.

The situation over Barry's departure from Villa Park is likely to come to a head tomorrow when boss Martin O'Neill's squad start pre-season work at their Bodymoor Heath training complex near Tamworth.

Barry would have hoped his move to Anfield would have been completed by now, but he is contractually required to report for training with the rest of the midlands club's squad.

Barry and O'Neill have been engaged in an increasingly bitter war of words since the England player informed his club manager over a month ago he wanted to join the Merseysiders.

Barry claimed that O'Neill had spent the past weeks working as a TV pundit at Euro 2008 but had not found the time to contact his club skipper over the situation.

O'Neill hit back earlier this week claiming the player and his agent were more than aware of talks and the manager's position in not wanting Barry to leave.

But O'Neill has also made it clear that "Barry can have his transfer" if the bid meets Villa's requirements of £18million.

But Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez believes that Barry's position at Villa has become untenable with fans' groups turning against the 27-year-old.

And the Spaniard seems unwilling in such a situation to meet the £18million price tag.

Barry, a close friend of Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard, is believed to be prepared for a showdown with O'Neill tomorrow where he will again reiterate his desire to leave.