Much like Arsenal fans are sweating over the futures of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, so Liverpool fans have been growing increasingly concerned over Philippe Coutinho.
The Brazilian has shone for the Reds this season, but his performances have drawn plenty of admiration from Europe’s biggest clubs.
Barcelona, Real Madrid and PSG have been regularly linked with the 25-year-old.
Coutinho’s current contract runs until 2020, but though that seems far away now, it’s not enough to ward off potential advances from those aforementioned teams within the next 12-18 months.
With just three years to run, it’s more than plausible to envisage Liverpool without Coutinho before the start of the 2018-19 campaign.
The Barca link in particular was of note, with the Catalan giants prising Luis Suarez away from Merseyside at the peak of his powers in 2014. But those rumours should now be put to bed with numerous reports today claiming that Liverpool have commenced talks over a new deal.
Jurgen Klopp’s side lost just once in the opening 13 Premier League games of the season, but since the Brazilian was injured at the end of November, the Reds have won only four of nine.
Now 10 points behind Chelsea, the Reds have a fierce fight on their hands if they want to return to the Champions League.
And it’s the top-tier of European club football which has been repeatedly suggested as a major factor in deciding Coutinho’s future.
It’s crucial that Liverpool land a top-four spot this season if they wish to keep their star forward.
Indeed, the next few weeks could have a big say in how these contact talks go.
Just two points separate the Anfield outfit from fifth place Man City, and at the end of December that gap was a much more confident seven points.
For now Liverpool’s top-four plans must be on hold, as they bid to reach a second successive League Cup final.
Trailing Southampton 1-0 heading into the second leg at Anfield on Wednesday night, the bookies make Klopp’s men 4/5 favourites to reach Wembley’s final.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing