Football

Barcelona have made their final decision on pursuing Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho

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Throughout the summer months, the name Philippe Coutinho has dominated much of the transfer window.

After Barcelona offloaded Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain for £197m, the Blaugrana identified the Liverpool star as the ideal man to soften the loss of the mercurial winger.

Naturally, the Reds were never going to sell the 25-year-old with ease, particularly as he had signed a new five-year contract back in November.

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Barca tabled three bids for Coutinho, all around the £100m mark, but Jurgen Klopp's side remained adamant that he was not for sale, despite the fact he handed in a formal transfer request.

The Brazilian played his first competitive game on Thursday evening, starring for his country as the Selecao beat Ecuador 2-0 in World Cup qualifying - he actually scored the second goal.

His emotional celebration after hinted at the stressful time he is going through and now, his future appears to have been decided.

According to Catalan publication Sport, Barcelona have finally accepted Liverpool's stance on the former Inter Milan midfielder and have thrown in the towel.

The news will come as a bitter blow to Coutinho, who reportedly was suffering from enormous amounts of stress due to his precarious position.

Like Arsenal with Alexis Sanchez, Liverpool have exercised the right to keep a player to his contract even though they are desperate to leave.

Klopp now has to decide whether to bring Coutinho back into his team, but given his performance for Brazil, he'd be a fool not to.

With Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Sarah and Sadio Mane up front, the Reds could bolster one of the strongest sides in Europe if they inject Coutinho's creativity into the mix.

The likelihood is that he will be granted permission to complete his dream move to Barcelona next year after the World Cup and now, it is up to him to get back down to business in the Premier League.

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