Barcelona making improved offer as Liverpool snub £130m Coutinho bid

BARCELONA are ready to splash up to £140m to land Philippe Coutinho.

The Catalan giants are preparing a fourth offer for the Liverpool midfielder and are ready to smash the British transfer record to get the deal done this month.

The 25-year-old wants to seal his dream move to Spain before the transfer window closes and Barcelona are willing to pull out all the stops to make it happen after three failed bids in the summer.

But Kop boss Jurgen Klopp has no fears about his players being distracted by the Coutinho circus ahead of tonight’s Merseyside derby.

Klopp refused to be drawn on the future of the Brazilian – who will miss the Cup clash with a thigh injury – but insists the team will not lose focus in their FA Cup third round clash against Everton at Anfield.

He said: “Sometimes they are in the middle of the story and sometimes they are sat next to the guy in the dressing room who is in the middle of the story.

“These young boys are used to this from a really early age and are used to ignoring things around them. If they are smart enough they ignore most of it.

“All the stories around are no problem. This story is not around since yesterday. It has been around since the summer and did you at any moment get the impression this team is distracted because of transfer rumours? No.

“We are focused on what we have an influence on. All the rest we have to ignore. It is clear there is a lot of excitement around.”

Klopp’s insistence his side won’t be distracted is backed by the fact the Reds were unbeaten in five games in August when the speculation started and the 25-year-old was out with a back complaint.

Despite Coutinho believing he has played game for the club, Klopp is confident he will be fit to face Manchester City on Sunday week.

But there is a growing belief that Liverpool’s stance has softened significantly since last summer.

The club’s owners, Fenway Sports Group, went as far as issuing a statement to say Coutinho was not for sale at any price even after he handed in a transfer request.

This time they have remained silent even after Barcelona’s kit manufacturers Nike released an advert offering Coutinho’s name on the Catalan side’s shirts.

Klopp added: “In football, in the world of news, the next day they will chase another pig in the village. That is a German saying.

“And all the stories around? You cannot imagine how cool life is when ignoring them. They are not important. They are entertaining.”

Liverpool will be without top scorer Mohamed Salah, who has a groin injury, tonight. He travelled to Ghana for the African football awards last night with team-mate Sadio Mane, who will be assessed on his return this morning.

Klopp will also decide today if record signing Virgil van Dijk is ready to make his debut in the heart of the Liverpool defence.

“Really, my first job is to prepare the healthy fit players for the next game,” Klopp said. “That is my first job.

“I am not the chancellor of Liverpool FC and have to talk about all the other things before saying ‘By the way, can we play football as well?’ We play football.

“All the rest we talk about when there is something to say and all the rest at the minute is speculation.

“If nothing happens I will not talk about this until the January 31 and then it might not be interesting anymore.”