Philippe Coutinho
Liverpool attacking midfielder Philippe Coutinho coveted a move to Barcelona during the summer JURE MAKOVEC/AFP/Getty Images

Barcelona are pressing ahead with their plans to finally sign in-form Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho in January, according to the latest reports from Spain.

Coutinho to Barcelona was one of the summer transfer window's most high-profile and protracted sagas, with the Brazilian international submitting a transfer request in order to attempt to force through a switch to Catalonia.

Such a move never came to fruition, however, with Liverpool rejecting multiple lucrative bids for a player who only put pen to paper on a new long-term contract in January that contained no release clause.

The Blaugrana have since claimed that they were quoted an eye-watering €200m (£179.2m $236m) for his services in the final hours before the Spanish deadline.

Liverpool's complete reluctance to part company with one of their key assets for any price has not deterred persistent speculation surrounding a renewed pursuit from Barcelona in the New Year and it is said that Coutinho remains a priority target for manager Ernesto Valverde.

Plans to reignite that pursuit now appear to be gathering serious pace, with Mundo Deportivo claiming that Coutinho and agents Giuliano Bertolucci and Kia Joorabchian have remained in contact with Barcelona and that the latter is expected to meet with representatives of Liverpool next week.

It is further suggested that Barcelona, who do not want to wait until next summer to get their man, still view their initial financial package of €110m (£98.5m) - €80m up front plus €30m in add-ons - as acceptable, although Coutinho's recent impressive form and the fact that he is now cup-tied for the Champions League are both factors that could see his valuation fluctuate.

The 25-year-old has been quick to put that summer disappointment behind him, scoring four goals in his last five appearances for Liverpool including stunning Premier League strikes against Leicester City and Newcastle United.

He also notched on Tuesday night (17 October) as Jurgen Klopp's side vanquished Slovenian champions Maribor 7-0 to seal the biggest away victory by an English team in the history of the European Cup.

Barcelona CEO Oscar Grau recently said that the undefeated La Liga leaders had the money and were "ready" to sign Coutinho or "any other player the technical staff request" during the winter window.

However, Mundo, who claim that Liverpool agreed to negotiate Coutinho's departure in January in exchange for him not going on strike during the first half of the season, points out that such a statement could prove problematic in attempting to seal a cost-effective deal.