Philippe Coutinho is reportedly expecting to have played his last game for Liverpool, as he sets his sights on a January move to Barcelona.
Earlier on Tuesday it was claimed that Coutinho was hoping to seal his long-awaited switch to Catalonia at some stage in the winter transfer window.
This comes after the Brazilian buckled down and performed in the first half of the season after a much-publicised downing of tools towards the end of the summer.
Coutinho was the subject of three failed bids from Barcelona ahead of the 2017/18 campaign, but while Liverpool took a hardline stance then, their stance seems to have softened.
According to the Times‘ Paul Joyce, corroborating reports from the Guardian and the Mail, Coutinho is seeking a January exit.
However, Barcelona would need to pay £133 million to secure their priority target, with the Reds still not guaranteed to sell.
The thigh injury which kept Coutinho out of Monday’s 2-1 win away to Burnley is believed to be genuine, unlike the ‘back problems’ claimed to be behind his absence at the start of the season.
His relationship with Jurgen Klopp seemingly remains strong, and Liverpool are in a comfortable position heading into any negotiations.
It could be that an agreement is made this month for Coutinho to move to the Nou Camp in the summer, similar to Liverpool’s deal with RB Leipzig to sign Naby Keita.
This would be an ideal situation, and the Reds are arguably already planning for life without Coutinho with the addition of Keita and heavy interest in AS Monaco’s Thomas Lemar.
Barcelona find themselves in a precarious financial situation, and also harbouring hopes of signing Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann, it remains to be seen whether they would stump up for Coutinho.
They did, however, signal their intentions in the summer with their final bid worth £114.2 million.