Liverpool Give Barcelona Green Light to Sign Philippe Coutinho, But It'll Cost Them

Liverpool will allow Philippe Coutinho to join Barcelona but are demanding a fee in the region of £160 million, according to reports.

The Merseyside club have long resisted the advances of Barcelona and Coutinho's demands for a move to Catalonia. The Brazilian midfielder submitted a transfer request in the summer that was rejected.

Barcelona sees Coutinho as a long-term replacement for Andreas Iniesta as Ernesto Valverde oversees a transition at the Camp Nou.

Iniesta turns 34 in May while Xavi, the other creative force over the last decade at Barcelona, left in 2015 for Qatar. Barcelona now look to the future, one that will eventually be without 30-year-old Lionel Messi and Neymar, who was sold to Paris Saint-Germain for £199 million.

Barcelona have already reinvested some of that fee by buying Ousmane Dembele from Borussia Dortmund in the summer but will have to part with £160 million if they are to sign Coutinho.

Liverpool have accepted the reality of selling the 25-year-old playmaker but will dig their heals in over the fee, demanding £160 million, according to The Daily Telegraph.

Jurgen Klopp's team have have already invested in the January transfer window by paying Southampton £75 million for Virgil van Dijk, making him the world's most expensive defender.

Philippe Coutinho
Philippe Coutinho at Anfield, Liverpool, December 30. Liverpool will reportedly demand £160 million for Coutinho. PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty

Van Dijk watched Liverpool's victories over Leicester City and Burnley from the stands, with Klopp insisting he won't rush the Dutch defender into his team.

"I don't know [when Van Dijk will make his debut]," Klopp told Liverpool's official website. "We made a few tests that make sense only for him and for us, to see where he stands. That's all. There is no rush.

"He is on fire and he really wants it, that's all good, but we have to make sure he can perform. Centre-half is a position which depends on all the others on the pitch.

"We need time. A pre-season is for that usually but we don't have a pre-season. Everything will be fine."

Liverpool's three successive victories over Christmas have seen Klopp's team go fourth in the Premier League table, sitting just one point behind Chelsea and going six ahead of Arsenal. Both Chelsea and Arsenal have a game in hand and face each other on Wednesday at the Emirates Stadium.

Klopp, meanwhile, will now turn his attention to the FA Cup and another Merseyside derby, with Sam Allardyce's Everton traveling to Anfield on Friday (January 5).

Wayne Rooney's penalty at Anfield on December 10 cancelled out Mohamed Salah's goal in the first half and split the points.

Jurgen Klopp and Philippe Coutinho
Jurgen Klopp, left, and Philippe Coutinho at Anfield, Liverpool, December 26. Coutinho submitted a transfer request in the summer amid interest from Barcelona. PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty