By Laura O'Leary

18th Dec, 2017 | 5:39pm

Reliable journalist provides huge update on Coutinho future at Liverpool

Guillem Balague has insisted that Liverpool have not slapped a price tag on Philippe Coutinho and that he thinks Barcelona may be looking for a reason not to sign him.

In his Sky Sports column,the journalist shared that he thought the stories about Coutinho’s price were coming from Barcelona, before suggesting a reason why this was.

“Liverpool have not put a price on Coutinho, regardless of what the Catalan press are saying,” revealed Balague.

“With the sources behind those stories coming from within the club, it sounds like Barcelona are looking for a reason to say Coutinho was too expensive and that they couldn’t afford him.”

The journalist went on to dismiss the notion that Coutinho would cost £123million, calling it simply not true.

Balague also commented that Barcelona’s interest in Antoine Griezmann makes a deal for the Reds’ midfielder less likely.

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“There is talk of Barcelona bringing in both Griezmann and Philippe Coutinho, but there are few problems with these reports,” said Balague.

“I don’t think they can afford both Griezmann and Coutinho.”

The journalist then backed Barcelona to say Coutinho is too expensive and that they might unveil Griezmann as their new marquee signing in the summer instead.

Coutinho has featured 17 times for Liverpool this season, scoring 10 goals and registering eight assists.

The midfielder has particularly excelled in this year’s Champions League, scoring five goals in five appearances.

Coutinho’s performances have helped the Reds reach the Champions League knockout stage and sit fourth.

Liverpool are one point clear of Arsenal in fifth ahead of playing them on Friday.

When the two sides met in August, the Reds won 4-0 with Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Daniel Sturridge getting on the score sheet.

Football Insider Verdict

If Balague is right, the news will be music to Liverpool fans’ ears. The midfielder has been a key player for them once again this season after Barcelona’s interest affected him in the summer. However, despite Balague believing the Spanish giants won’t sign Coutinho, it won’t stop rumours in January. The Reds will have to hope that their midfielder doesn’t get distracted once again during an important time of the season. Ideally Barcelona would clarify their interest in January but based on Balague’s comments it might drag on until the summer. Although Liverpool fans may just be relieved to hear that the midfield’s future could be at the club.

In other Liverpool news, Jamie Redknapp pointed out a new problem for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

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