Liverpool prepare £88m January bid for Philippe Coutinho replacement

Liverpool are readying a January move for Monaco star Thomas Lemar as they prepare to lose long-term Barcelona target Philippe Coutinho, according to reports.

The Brazilian playmaker was centre of a transfer tug-of-war between Liverpool and Barca for most of the summer window, with the Merseysiders adamant he would not be sold.

But that stance has softened more recently, and there is a growing acceptance that Coutinho will be allowed to leave the club, and Liverpool have already identified the player they want to replace him.

According to L’Equipe, Liverpool are ready to re-bid the £79 million they offered for Lemar on deadline day – and are even willing to increase their offer to £88m if needed.

Monaco are bracing themselves for several offers for Lemar in January, with Arsenal also set to reignite their interest, while Bayern Munich, Chelsea and Barca are also keeping tabs on him.

Although Coutinho is not expected to move to Camp Nou until the summer, there is a willingness at Liverpool to plan ahead for his likely exit. Lemar is still seen as a great fit for the club despite a disappointing season so far, in which he has scored just once and registered only a single assist.