Liverpool are preparing an £8m bid for Inter Milan midfielder Philippe Coutinho, according to the Daily Mail.

Philippe Coutinho (R)
Philippe Coutinho Reuters

The 20-year-old has made only four starts in all competitions for the Nerazzurri this season, with only two goals in 12 appearances overall. The Brazil international transferred to the Giuseppe Meazza in 2010, after having agreed a pre-contract two years earlier.

However, his time in Italy has been problematic and he has failed to establish himself in Inter's first team. He spent the second half of last season on loan to Spanish club Espanyol, where he was far more effective and scored five goals in 16 La Liga appearances.

Liverpool's interest in Coutinho is consistent with their recent transfer policy of recruiting young players with potential resale value and building for the future. Club chairman Tom Werner is believed to be in the city and will discuss transfer plans after the weekend Premier League match against Norwich City.

The Reds were linked with former Real Madrid star Wesley Sneijder, also of Inter. The possibility of the 28-year-old Dutchman moving to Anfield was, however, ruled out by Brendan Rodgers and it appears likely Sneijder will move to Turkey, to join Galatasaray. In addition, Liverpool's transfer hopes suffered a blow when Championship club Blackpool froze them out during negotiations for forward Tom Ince. Rodgers has confirmed, however, that he is looking for additions to his first team.

Ex-Red Believes in Top Four Finish

Former Liverpool midfielder Ray Houghton believes the Anfield club can still claim Champions League football at the end of the season; they would have to finish fourth to do so. Liverpool are presently eighth in the table, with 31 points, and are nine behind Spurs in fourth.

"This season, more than any other, fourth place is up for grabs between Tottenham, Arsenal, Everton and Liverpool. The next few matches will show us exactly where they are. I'd love to see them up there competing for a top four position. In the middle of November, I actually thought there was a chance," Houghton said.