Barcelona have reportedly stepped up their pursuit of Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho by lodging a third bid worth £118m for his signature. The Brazil international has been identified as the prime option to replace Neymar, who switched his allegiance to Paris Saint-Germain in a world-record £198m deal earlier this month.

Coutinho, 25, has evolved into the most influential player for the Reds following the departure of Steven Gerrard more than two years ago. Although he has not found any success in terms of trophies, the attacker has paired up exceptionally well with Sadio Mane in what is regarded as one of the most firesome partnerships in the Premier League.

According to Portuguese outlet O Jogo, Barca have made a fresh attempt worth £118m for Coutinho, and are hopeful that the latest offer will change the Reds’ stance on the player. Liverpool lost an influential striker in Luis Suarez to Barcelona back in 2014, and it took them a transition period of three years in order to compete again with the league’s elite.

Klopp knows well that the Reds would find it hard to replace Coutinho in the transfer market, and the club’s hierarchy have already turned down two bids worth £72m and £90m for his services. Nevertheless, the latest approach could be a potential transfer decider for Coutinho after he surprised few of his teammates by handing in a formal transfer request earlier last week.

Coutinho has not featured for the Reds this season due to an alleged back problem, and it could have some relation to his ongoing transfer saga – a situation which is all too similar to Alexis Sanchez at Arsenal. Barcelona faced a thumping 5-1 aggregate defeat at the hands of Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup earlier this week, and they are hopeful of having Coutinho integrated into their squad ahead of this weekend’s curtain raiser against Real Betis in La Liga.

Image – Getty

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