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Coutinho to Barcelona now ‘a question of when’ - report

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Is Liverpool’s stance softening?

Liverpool FC v Spartak Moskva - UEFA Champions League Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

There’s an interesting update in the Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona saga with the Liverpool Echo now reporting it’s a matter of when, not if the Brazilian will move to Camp Nou.

Previously the speculation surrounding a potential move always seemed to have been driven by the Catalan press who had always seemed convinced a deal could be done.

In stark contrast the message from Liverpool was very clearly ‘he is not for sale’ - even when Coutinho handed in a transfer request.

Big-name signings in January are pretty rare, but it seems as though Liverpool’s stance is softening, perhaps worn down by Barca’s dogged pursuit and Coutinho’s desire to leave.

According to the Echo, an offer of £120 million would now be considered, whereas Liverpool have been quick to dismiss any offers out of hand previously.

The form of Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane has also shown Liverpool that they could cope pretty well without Coutinho.

Manager Jurgen Klopp and club CEO Peter Moores have both been asked about Coutinho in recent days and been pretty non-committal.

Coutinho has also been asked, for that matter, and has not ruled out leaving Anfield.

The one factor that still suggests a January move might not happen is that if he did move in the winter, Coutinho would not be eligible to play in the Champions League.

However, there is a counter-argument, because if he did leave, that would allow Liverpool the funds to strengthen a backline that has been extremely vulnerable this season.

Either way, Coutinho may well be on his way to Barca, although whether it’s in January or next summer still remains to be seen.