Philippe Coutinho determined to leave Liverpool for Barcelona in January transfer window

Representatives working on the Brazilian's behalf are hopeful of convincing the Reds to allow the playmaker to leave England

Ed Malyon,Miguel Delaney
Tuesday 02 January 2018 15:20
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Representatives working on behalf of Philippe Coutinho are continuing with their efforts to convince Liverpool to allow the Brazilian playmaker to leave this month.

Barcelona remain keen on the 25-year-old midfielder and are confident that they will eventually get their man, but after getting over-confident on a deal in August there is now a distinct sense of déja vu with the local media in Catalonia leading with a seemingly imminent deal over the last week.

As far as Liverpool are concerned, there has been no bid for the twinkle-toed Brazil international since the summer, and as long as that continues to be the case there is obviously nothing to discuss. Similarly, Jurgen Klopp has no great desire to lose one of his best players halfway through the season.

But there can be denying that the Reds' stance on Coutinho has softened a little and while it is impossible to read too much into Barca's misplaced over-confidence, the fact that agents working with the Liverpool man believe they are close to a breakthrough should not be ignored.

The former Inter Milan playmaker has made little fuss since September's transfer deadline and has knuckled down during the autumn, but the very least he would like to happen this month would be to have a deal signed that sees him join Barca at the end of the season - which may be preferable to an immediate departure for the Reds, given their continued participation in the Champions League.

Coutinho was announced as a Barcelona player by Nike

One source with knowledge of Barcelona's plans stated that Coutinho would "do anything in the world" to secure a move to the Camp Nou. He missed Monday's win over Burnley with a thigh injury that is also supposed to keep him out of Friday night's derby with Everton, and hasn't played for the club since Nike advertised Barcelona shirts with Coutinho's name on the back and claims that he was "ready to light up the Camp Nou."

The American sportswear giant is yet to comment on the apparent mistake, but Liverpool do not plan on pursuing any legal action over the matter and instead it is Barcelona - who are now very sensitive as to how any wrinkle might affect the deal - who are most annoyed about the website incident.

Barcelona need to sell players in order to bring in both of their big 2018 transfer targets, Antoine Griezmann and Coutinho, but Arda Turan, Andre Gomes, Paco Alcacer, Javier Mascherano and Denis Suarez are all players expected to make way in the next six months to free up room in their strict annual budget.

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