Liverpool Braced for Improved Bid as Barcelona Ramp Up Their Pursuit of Philippe Coutinho

Wednesday July 26th, 2017

​Liverpool are bracing themselves for an improved bid from Barcelona as the Catalan giants continue their pursuit of Philippe Coutinho.

The Reds are said to have already knocked back an initial £72m offer for their star man, but the ​Daily Star has now reported that La Blaugrana's Anfield raid is not over yet.

The Copa del Rey holders are expected to return with a bid worth £80m to try and convince Liverpool to change their stance on keeping Coutinho but, with Jurgen Klopp adamant that the playmaker is not for sale, Liverpool will rebuff Barca's second bid too.

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Coutinho will fly out with the rest of Liverpool's first-team squad on Wednesday as they continue their pre-season preparations in Germany, but questions still linger over his Reds' future with Barcelona refusing to take no for an answer.

The La Liga runners-up believe they can persuade the 25-year-old to join their cause as Ernesto Valverde continues to strengthen his side ahead of his maiden season in charge.

It is also a possibility that Barcelona are attempting to land Coutinho in a bid to placate compatriot Neymar, whose Nou Camp future was under grave threat as PSG appeared on the cusp of sealing a world-record £196m transfer for the forward last weekend.

However, Neymar was reportedly convinced to stay by his teammates, and it could well be that Barca will try and bring Coutinho to Catalunya as a sweetener to keep Neymar happy.

Liverpool boss Klopp has already held talks with Coutinho and told the Brazil international that he would not be sold this summer, and the German reiterated that stance to the press during his club's tour of Asia last Thursday.

He said at the time: "Yes (he is not for sale), but that's not since this morning or yesterday, it's not been any different.

"Phil is a very important player for us. He's trying to get back his rhythm but there's no doubt about his quality. He's very smart both offensively and defensively."

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