BARCELONA have warned Liverpool they are coming with a fresh bid to grab Philippe Coutinho in January.
The Catalan giants saw three attempts to sign the playmaker rebuffed in the summer, including a final bid of £117million, the Reds holding firm despite the 25-year-old submitting a transfer request.
But their resolve is to be tested once more with an increased bid in January after Barca chief executive Oscar Grau indicated they are preparing an offer Liverpool cannot refuse with cash from the sale of Neymar.
“We are ready to sign Coutinho or any other player the technical staff request in the winter window,” Grau said.
“We want to have the most competitive squad possible. The club will be sustainable, we don’t want losses. If that is the case, we will look for means to generate income.”
Liverpool are understood to be angered by Barcelona’s latest attempt to unsettle their player and could do without the distraction in the week they lost Sadio Mane for six weeks to a hamstring injury on international duty.
In addition, arch rivals Manchester United arrive at Anfield on Saturday for a crunch Premier League clash.
But while their stance regarding the player remained officially unchanged with the club adamant they will not part with him midway through a season, Coutinho is still understood to be keen on a move to Spain.
Barcelona may have to get closer to Liverpool’s £183m valuation for a player Liverpool re-signed on a five-year deal in January 2017, but if they do the Premier League club will find it hard to say no again.
Barcelona sold winger Neymar to Paris St Germain for a world-record fee of £198m in August, before spending £97m on Ousmane Dembele from Borussia Dortmund.
Coutinho has shown no signs of being distracted recently despite his attempts to force a move in the summer.
After missing the first seven games of Liverpool’s campaign, the attacking midfielder has scored in their last three matches.
Kenny Dalglish meanwhile has backed Coutinho to be key for Liverpool this weekend.
“I’m a wee bit biased,” he told the Daily Mail.
“Every goal we score is important if it means we get the points against them.
”The manager, he’ll be key to us, he dictates things. Mohamed Salah has been an excellent signing for us.
“He looks very exciting and has scored a few. Having Philippe Coutinho back, he’s done extremely well. We’re pleased to see him playing so well.”