Liverpool attacker Philippe Coutinho may leave Anfield for the Camp Nou in January if Barcelona manage to "turn his head" again, according to former Reds striker Emile Heskey.

Coutinho, 25, was the subject of a much-publicised pursuit from Barca during the summer and is still very much in the Blaugrana's thoughts as the January transfer window draws near. The former Inter Milan starlet made it clear that he wished to leave Merseyside for Catalonia but Liverpool managed to fend off interest in their prized asset, who had submitted a transfer request.

Barcelona are planning to reignite their interest in Coutinho in January - manager Ernesto Valverde has made it clear that he wants to see some fresh faces arrive in the winter - and Heskey, who spent four years at Liverpool, thinks there is every possibility that Coutinho will be wearing Barcelona colours in January, and believes the close relationships he has with players associated with the Spanish giants could prove to be vital.

"When the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid – and even Liverpool themselves – are linked to players then players seriously think about it. So I'm not surprised that Coutinho is considering it," said Heskey, speaking exclusively to 888sport.

"He is close to some who play there and a number of Brazilians have represented them over the years so that's where he's thinking of plying his trade next. There is always that chance that he might go in January because if they come back with another offer his head will be turned again."

Liverpool would undoubtedly spend heavily on a replacement for Coutinho if the Brazil international did leave Anfield in the coming months, but it is their defence which certainly needs the most work.

Jurgen Klopp's side delivered another woeful defensive display against Tottenham on Sunday, and Heskey thinks the German needs to "devote" a lot of time to fixing his side's porous backline if he has any chance of turning around the Reds' fortunes.

"It goes without saying that defensively they're not as sound as they could be," Heskey said. "I don't know if it's personnel or if it's not fully understanding the shape of their defending.

"When you look at the old Arsenal sides they would devote whole training sessions to their defensive shape. Everyone says it is personnel but only time will tell when they get someone else in and if it stays the same."

Read the full 888sport interview with Emile Heskey, including his thoughts on how Liverpool's current front three compare to the Suarez era.

Philippe Coutinho
Coutinho seems destined to join Barcelona. Getty Images