Report: Coutinho skipping Dubai trip to hasten Barcelona move

Philippe Coutinho will not travel with the Liverpool squad for its warm-weather training camp in Dubai in an effort to push through a transfer to Barcelona, according to The Telegraph's Chris Bascombe.

The Reds are preparing in the United Arab Emirates for next weekend's Premier League clash with Manchester City, but Coutinho's involvement in that match now appears unlikely after opting out of the trip.

The Brazilian hasn't featured for Liverpool since the January transfer window opened, with his latest absence coming in Friday's FA Cup third-round win over Everton due to a supposed thigh injury.

The red half of Merseyside is determined to keep Coutinho, and is apparently prepared to refuse offers worth as much as £140 million. Liverpool is even disposed to receiving less money in the summer to allow him to feature in the remainder of its 2017-18 Premier League, Champions League, and FA Cup campaigns.

Liverpool is also open to a similar deal to the one it struck with RB Leipzig for Naby Keita, with Coutinho signing for Barcelona now but then effectively staying on loan at Anfield until the end of the season.

However, there is a growing acceptance at Anfield that the club is fighting a losing battle. The fact Coutinho would be ineligible for Barcelona in the knockout stages of the Champions League appears to be no deterrent for the midfielder. Joaquim Piera of Spanish publication SPORT believes there is already an agreement in principle for the sale barring any late hitches in negotiations, and that the Brazilian will sign a five-year contract in Catalonia.

If a transfer is completed, it will conclude a long-term pursuit from Barcelona for the 25-year-old. Liverpool rebuffed three Blaugrana proposals and denied a transfer request from Coutinho last summer. The final spurned bid was worth £118 million including clauses, prompting Liverpool to release a stoic club statement in August that said "no offers for Philippe would be considered."

This time, Liverpool's resolve seems to be ebbing away.

Report: Coutinho skipping Dubai trip to hasten Barcelona move
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