Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher has urged the club not to sell Philippe Coutinho in the current transfer window but agree a deal for him to leave this summer.
Reports have suggested Coutinho hopes to join Barcelona this month and believes he has played his last game for the Reds.
Any bid coming in from Barca would be in addition to three they had rebuffed for the 25-year-old Brazil playmaker last summer, when Liverpool rejected a transfer request from Coutinho.
Carragher gave his view on the situation on Wednesday as he wrote on Twitter: “Best thing @LFC is agree the BIG fee for Coutinho to go in the summer like we’ve done with (Naby) Keita, not now.
“What do the club gain by doing it now? Top 4 & CL progression seriously risked if they sell in Jan, & difficult to replace him now. If he goes on strike he damages himself.”
Coutinho missed the start of the season with a back problem but has been in outstanding form recently, scoring seven goals in his last eight games.
In early December, he spoke about trying to do his best for Liverpool, but also said: “I do not know how the future is going to be.
“What will happen in January, we will know it in January. I do not know if there will be an offer.
“Last summer there was a job offer in the same way that happens with any employee and I was interested in it.”
He was not involved in the Premier League win at Burnley on New Year’s Day, with Liverpool saying that was due to a “minor thigh injury” and boss Jurgen Klopp adding Coutinho was “at least a doubt” for Friday’s FA Cup clash with Everton.
The Burnley match was shortly after Nike reportedly advertised a Barcelona shirt for sale with Coutinho’s name on it.
Social media lit up with screen grabs of the official Nike website showing the offer in several different languages.
Headlined ‘Where the magic happens’, the page, which is no longer on the website, continued with the message: “Philippe Coutinho is ready to light up Camp Nou.”
Klopp, according to various media outlets, said when asked about that after the Burnley game: “I heard about it. I couldn’t be less interested in anything in the world. Somebody told me and I thought ‘wow’ – top story.”
He was also quoted by a number of national newspapers as saying last week when asked about Coutinho: “The only thing I am interested in is how is Phil playing at the moment.
“I was really happy about the last few performances and his impact. He showed his character in the games and in the training sessions. He was spot on.
“That is what I am interested in. All the rest I can’t and I am not interested in talking about.”
In August, Liverpool’s owners Fenway Sports Group issued a statement stressing their stance that Coutinho would not be sold during that window.