Liverpool have left Philippe Coutinho out of their squad for the UEFA Champions League qualifier against Hoffenheim, scheduled on Tuesday August 15 in Germany. The club has repeatedly claimed the Brazilian forward has a back injury, but the truth might be something else.

The 22-member Liverpool squad have boarded the flight to the South West of Germany for the crucial first leg tie. Their second leg encounter is scheduled at Anfield on next Wednesday.

This is the second-straight competitive game this season that Coutinho will be missing due to his reported back injury. Only on Friday, the Brazil star asked Liverpool for a transfer request hours after the club released a statement they would not be selling him.

Philippe Coutinho, Liverpool, Everton, EPL, Merseyside derby

The interest from Barcelona for Coutinho is at an all-time high with the Catalan giants preparing a third bid to land him at the Camp Nou, and unveiling him as Neymar's replacement. 

"Philippe has tried very hard to find an amicable solution but to no avail," a source close to the footballer has been quoted as saying by Sky Sports. "He has tremendous love for the club and fans but as Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez have pointed out in the past, Liverpool does not let its players leave on amicable terms."

Barcelona have a now-or-never scenario

The Catalan giants' two bids -- €80 million (£72 million) and €100 million (£90.3 million) have been rejected and sent to the bin by the Reds, but the fate of the third bid looks one to watch out for. According to the latest reports this Monday morning, Barcelona are looking to launch an offer worth £137million for Coutinho.

That, after the club announced the signing of Brazilian midfielder Paulinho from Chinese Super League club Guangzhou Evergrande for €40 million (£36.4m). He has agreed upon a four-year contract and his buyout clause is set at €120 million.

paulinho, barcelona
Paulinho (#8) playing for Guangzhou EvergrandeMasashi Hara/Getty

Paulinho is the Catalan giants' first signing after their sale of Neymar to PSG. The 29-year-old box-to-box midfielder has played with Tottenham Hotspur in the past but did not fare too well during that stint. Lately, however, he has been a regular for the Brazil national football team.

He will be unveiled at the Camp Nou this Thursday. Having said that, Barcelona still know that the most crucial part of their summer transfer business stays incomplete and they need to be on their toes with just a little over 15 days remaining for the transfer window to shut.

Snapping up Coutinho from Liverpool and Ousmane Dembele from Borussia Dortmund will be a win-win situation for the La Liga giants. Question is how soon.

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