Philippe Coutinho goes on strike at Liverpool in bid to force January move to Barcelona
Philippe Coutinho has gone on strike at Liverpool as he tries to force a move to Barcelona this month, according to sensational reports in Spain.
Spanish newspaper Sport are claiming Coutinho will not wear the Liverpool shirt again and that his head is already in Barcelona.
Coutinho was left out of the squad for Liverpool’s match with Burnley on New Year’s Day after it emerged Nike were already selling Barcelona shirts with his name printed on.
And Barcelona are preparing to make an approach this month during the January transfer window after seeing three bids rejected last summer.
Coutinho submitted a transfer request the day before the start of the season and didn’t play for Liverpool until the summer window was shut.
And now Sport are claiming he will not play for the club again while talk of a move rumbles on.
It is said he does not want to put a move under threat by picking up an injury.
And Sport claim Jurgen Klopp is preparing to be without Coutinho for the upcoming games against Everton in the FA Cup and then Manchester City in the Premier League.
Barcelona pushed hard to get Coutinho in the summer after selling Neymar to PSG but were frustrated with three bids being rejected.
They are expected to go higher in their bids this month and could reach £150m.
AS earlier claimed a five-year deal was agreed with Coutinho as far back as the summer and all that was needed was Liverpool’s permission.
Don Balon have reported that an agreement could be reached in the coming days and he could be announced as a Barcelona player this week.
Coutinho is desperate to make the move despite Jurgen Klopp saying nothing was happening.
The Liverpool boss insisted he had no interest in Nike’s kit mishap, where shirts were being sold with Coutinho’s name on.
“I heard about it,” he said.
“I couldn’t be less interested in anything in the world.
“But somebody told me and I thought ‘wow’. Top story.”
However former defender Phil Thompson thinks the move for Virgil van Dijk last week could set in motion Coutinho’s exit.
“Liverpool’s net spend has not been high since Jurgen Klopp has been at the club and while it will raise the questions as to what will happen with Philippe Coutinho, especially with the Naby Keita deal agreed, the finances area is very strong at Anfield,” he told Sky Sports.
And Spanish football expert Guillem Balague has claimed Liverpool are now open to selling and are deciding when best to cash in.
“Coutinho will not be “fit” for the FA Cup game on Friday vs Everton,” Balague tweeted.
“On future: LFC’s tone has changed -it seems they are open to all the options. Sell now, sell now for the summer. Keeping him beyond then seems the very last option.
“But no offer from FBC has arrived… yet.”
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