Philippe Coutinho has not given up on joining Barcelona in the January transfer window and will refuse to play for Liverpool in the Champions League group stage to ensure he is not cup tied for the competition come the knock-out phase during the second half of the season. The Brazil international was subject of multiple bids during the summer transfer window but the Reds stood firm and refused to allow their star player to leave.
The Catalan giants eventually withdrew from attempts to sign the 25-year-old on the final day of the Spanish transfer window [1 September] after they claimed to have been quoted €200m (£183.1m, $237.2m) to sign Coutinho. The Merseyside club have denied any suggestion they offered the player to the Nou Camp club and consider the matter closed.
But according to Spanish publication Sport, Coutinho is "monumentally angry" with Liverpool for not allowing him to join Barcelona in the summer and is ready to go to extraordinary lengths to ensure he could still complete the transfer when the market reopens in the new year.
Coutinho has not played for Liverpool this season amid the uncertainty over his future – manager Jurgen Klopp insists the ex-Inter Milan schemer has been suffering from a back injury and illness – but on Monday [4 September] was named in the club's Champions League squad for the group stage of the competition which starts next week. Klopp's side take on Sevilla, Maribor and Spartak Moscow in the preliminary stage.
And with an eye on the January window, Coutinho will go on strike in Europe and decline to play for Liverpool in the competition to ensure he could be available for Barcelona come the knock-out stage which starts in February. Liverpool are unlikely to take kindly to the decision to go on strike in the Champions League but the news is another blow in their attempts to reintegrate him into the squad.
Klopp has welcomed Coutinho back into the Liverpool first team but it remains to be seen whether he will return to the first team for the Premier League trip to Manchester City when the domestic campaign resumes this weekend. Coutinho made his desire to join Barcelona well known to the club during the summer and it could take a major about-turn to change his feeling of discontent.