Liverpool Transfer News: Latest Rumours on Philippe Coutinho and Alberto Moreno

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistAugust 5, 2017

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 14:  Philippe Coutinho of Liverpool celebrates scoring his free kick with Alberto Moreno during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Liverpool at Emirates Stadium on August 14, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Philippe Coutinho is reportedly close to joining Barcelona, with his agent waiting on Liverpool's response to the Camp Nou club's €100 million (£90 million) bid.

Spanish source Mundo Deportivo reported Barca have accelerated their efforts to sign Coutinho following Neymar's world-record move to Paris Saint-Germain (h/t Metro).

Metro detailed how the "midfielder's agent, Giuliano Bertolucci, is currently in London to await the final response from Liverpool after Barcelona's €100 million [...] offer was submitted."

The Spanish outlet believes this latest bid has a better chance of being accepted (h/t Metro): "Mundo Deportivo claim that the new bid matches Liverpool’s asking price after Barca's €80 million (£72 million) offer was rejected last week."

There are contrasting reports from Europe about Coutinho's future, amid ongoing interest from Barcelona.
There are contrasting reports from Europe about Coutinho's future, amid ongoing interest from Barcelona.Kin Cheung/Associated Press

However, the reports from Spain go against ones from Italy, which indicate Coutinho is the Blaugrana's second choice in this transfer market. Instead, Juventus forward Paulo Dybala is Barca's main target, per Italian publications Corriere dello Sport and La Gazzetta dello Sport (h/t Paul Gorst of the Liverpool Echo).

No matter where he sits on the Barca transfer radar, Liverpool should do all they can to keep Coutinho beyond this summer. The Brazilian maestro is the creative fulcrum of Jurgen Klopp's team despite the presence of several other playmakers in the squad.

Coutinho makes the Reds tick. He proved as much by scoring 13 times and supplying seven assists in the Premier League last season, per WhoScored.comHis importance has increased following Klopp's revelation fellow midfield schemer Adam Lallana could miss two months with a thigh injury, per the club's official website.

Lallana's injury only increases Coutinho's importance at Liverpool.
Lallana's injury only increases Coutinho's importance at Liverpool.Boris Streubel/Getty Images

There is still quality in the Liverpool midfield without Lallana, particularly in the form of Netherlands international Georginio Wijnaldum. However, it will be Coutinho's verve that gives the Reds their best chance of winning the Premier League title on Klopp's watch.

Any title challenge from the Anfield club would be aided by a stouter defence. One defender Klopp is prepared to let go is left-back Alberto Moreno.

Watford are keen on the Spanish full-back, according to Kristian Walsh of the Liverpool Echo: "Two Premier League clubs have registered their interest in the former Sevilla man, and the Echo understands Marco Silva is keen to bring him to Vicarage Road."

Yet Watford may not get a deal done in time for their Premier League opener against Liverpool on August 12, per Walsh, who noted how one problem might be the fee: "Liverpool rejected an £11 million bid from Napoli earlier this summer, with the Reds looking to attract £15 million for the 25-year-old."

Moreno is reportedly wanted by Watford.
Moreno is reportedly wanted by Watford.Boris Streubel/Getty Images

It's a hefty price tag for a defender who has struggled during his time on Merseyside.

Liverpool have already prepared for Moreno's exit by signing Andy Robertson from Hull City. Meanwhile, converted midfielder James Milner has a season's worth of experience playing left-back.

Even so, Klopp and the Reds would wise to lower their price in order to sell Moreno.

Liverpool would be wiser still to knock back any more bids from Barcelona for midfield talisman Coutinho.