By Danny Wright

Liverpool are plotting a late move for Real Madrid ace Mateo Kovacic with the Merseysiders resigned to losing Philippe Coutinho before Thursday’s transfer deadline, according to a report.

Spanish news outlet Diario Gol claims on their website that Kovacic, 23, is keen on the idea of a move to Anfield as it would see him increase his earnings.

Jurgen Klopp is understood to be a big fan of the deep-lying playmaker and the Liverpool manager would be willing to offer him a better wage deal if he completed a last-gasp move to the Premier League with Coutinho said to be expected to join Barcelona.

The report adds that Kovacic has approached Madrid president Florentino Perez to ask for a better deal at the Bernabeu.

The 34-times Croatia international, formerly of Inter Milan and Dinamo Zagreb, has been sparsely used by manager Zinedine Zidane in the opening fixtures of this season.

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He started both Supercopa clashes with Barcelona, but has been dropped to the bench for Super Cup win over Manchester and last week’s first home game in La Liga.

Football Insider Verdict

Liverpool’s defence is a major problem and although they have kept clean sheets in their last two Premier League fixtures, they will be found out by more in-form opponents over the course of the campaign – especially in the Champions League. Kovacic is a player who is both good on and off the ball. He played superbly against Lionel Messi in the Supercopa earlier this month and that is the sort of protection that Liverpool need in front of their underperforming rearguard. It seems unlikely that the Reds may get him now that Naby Keita has signed, but the Leipzig enforcer doesn’t sign until next summer, so Kovacic would be a great short-term addition.

In other Liverpool news, the Reds are ready to hijack Chelsea’s move for this 24-year-old.

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